Category Archives: Vehicle Donations

Bussani Mobility’s Next Generation Management Team

L to R Dan Walsh, Dan Bussani, Stephn Wilmer, John Bussani

Left to right: Dan Walsh, Dan Bussani, Stephen Wilmer, and           John Bussani

With the recent retirement of founder John Bussani, the 42-year old Bussani Mobility Team has undergone a restructure and installation of a three-man executive team. According to the company’s new Chief Executive Officer Dan Bussani who formerly served as vice president under his father’s leadership, the company was purchased by himself and two partners who have been long-time employees.
Bussani teamed up with Gen. Mgr. Dan Walsh and Accountant Stephen Wilmer to make the purchase. When a larger company made an offer to John Bussani to buy his business, the three came together. According to John Bussani the employees’ offer was accepted in order to keep the “personal customer experience.”
Small Business Feel
“We want to keep the small business feel,” said Dan Bussani. “I think people like to do business with small companies. We don’t want the customer to become just a number. None of us want to get so big that it gets to that point.”
Newly named Chief Operating Officer Dan Walsh sees focus as the key. “Each one of us knows the other person’s goals,” he said. “Our roles are clearly defined now and it helps us to work together efficiently and it also helps the customer.”
“My dad never thought his business would grow to what it is today,” said the younger Bussani. The company now has three locations – two on Long Island and one in Westchester. “We want the business to grow in the area. We know of a couple of locations where we feel we’ll be doing a good job for our community,” he continued.
Expanding
“We want to keep the personal touch,” said the new Chief Financial Officer Stephen Wilmer. “Although we want to expand, we don’t want it to get so big that we lose the individualized service that was always part of the company.”
Part of their expansion includes adding an enhanced service department. “I noticed clients would buy their vehicles from us and were going to dealerships and automotive facilities for service,” said Walsh. “They were either getting taken advantage of or refused. I started bringing in local repair shops. We would do mobility work and they would do automotive. After a while we started doing full service in house for customers who choose to have their work done in one place.”
Dan Bussani, 41, who lives with his wife and two daughters in Seaford grew up in the company. Although he had other jobs while in school, he has been a part of the Bussani team all his life and has worked hand-in-hand with this father as the roles gradually reversed and he took over much of the day-to-day operation as John Bussani neared retirement.
Forty-eight-year-old Dan Walsh has been on the team for 13 years. He lives in Seaford with his wife and two daughters. After learning about business by working in the restaurant and plumbing businesses and his family’s auto body company Walsh learned from Dan Bussani about the plan to expand the service department in the Bethpage location. “At the time they were only working on converting vehicles,” said Walsh. “I came in to take a look and I fell in love with it — the people, the atmosphere and the customers.”
“Accountability is the word we’re using continuously,” said Dan Bussani. “We’re accountable to each other and especially to the customer.”
Stephen Wilmer, 37, has been with the Bussani team for nine years. A month after graduating from college he filled a need. The company had just lost its bookkeeper and the Bussanis realizing their need was for more than a bookkeeper offered Wilmer the position. He handles the financial needs of the company as well as working with the regulatory aspects of the New York state Department of Motor Vehicles and the Department of taxation. “You have to do everything right,” he said. Wilmer lives in Lindenhurst with his wife and his two daughters.
“I am confident that the new leadership will continue to service the disabled community with the same care and compassion that has been the hallmark of the Bussani ‘family’, “ said John Bussani.
This article appeared in Able News – Volume 26 – Number 7 – January 2017

John Bussani Retires From Mobility Business

John BussaniOne of the local pioneers of the mobility industry, John Bussani, has passed the torch to the next generation. John, who founded Bussani Mobility 42 years ago, recently announced his retirement.
Bussani remembers riding on a train in the dark with the sounds of war blaring all around, as his mother held him below the window to protect him. At five years of age, he and his mother were fleeing Yugoslavia to join his father who had defected to Italy to make a better life for them.
He had his first glimpse of the Statue of Liberty, at age 11, from the ship that brought his family to America. They settled in Hoboken, N.J. and then moved to Freeport, N.Y.
Bussani served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. While hospitalized with a broken arm in Germany, he watched as disabled soldiers returned from the war, and he wondered how he could help.
After the war, he worked as a draftsman and then started repairing automobile transmissions. While having dinner with friends one night, he was introduced to a polio survivor. They discussed what types of vehicle modifications would be needed for people with disabilities. He learned about a man in New Jersey who was installing hand controls in cars. He met with Alan Ruprecht of Drive Master, who showed him how to do the installations — and that was the beginning of a journey that spanned over four decades and touched thousands of people.
Bussani traveled around Long Island working out of the trunk of his car to give independence to people who were unable to use their feet and legs to drive. The word spread and people started asking Bussani for help with their vehicles. Eventually, he bought a building in Baldwin, N.Y., where he did modifications, then moved the growing business to Freeport and later Bethpage, which is now the headquarters for Bussani Mobility. The company continued to grow and now has locations in Smithtown in Suffolk County and in Mamaroneck in Westchester County.
Over the years, Bussani became well known in his field. He lectured at occupational therapy classes at SUNY Farmingdale, Touro College, and Stony Brook University. He opened his facility to students on a regular basis and actively participated in NMEDA (National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association), the Adaptive Driving Alliance and other leading industry organizations. In particular, he became an advocate of higher safety standards in vehicle modifications.
The mobility industry continued to develop as manufacturers like BraunAbility began mass-producing wheelchair accessible vehicles and advanced technologies became available. Bussani Mobility expanded accordingly, keeping quality workmanship and integrity in the forefront of daily operations.
One thing tL to R Dan Walsh, Dan Bussani, Stephn Wilmer, John Bussanihat has not changed at Bussani Mobility according to Bussani which is his original vision — to help people living with physical disabilities get mobile and to enjoy full and complete lives.
John’s son Dan has been involved in the business his entire life. “I even remember driving my toy car around the parking lot as a child while Dad was changing peoples’ lives for the good,” said Dan Bussani. Dan has now taken over the business as Co-Owner and CEO. Long-time employee Dan Walsh is also a Co-Owner and COO. Stephen Wilmer completes the team as the third Co-Owner and CFO.
John Bussani was an only child. He was married to Barbara for nearly 40 years when she passed 10 years ago. He has two sons – Daniel and John Christopher (J.C.) who is an engineer. John is spending time enjoying his grandchildren.

Photo Left to Right: Dan Walsh, Dan Bussani,
Stephen Wilmer, and John Bussani

The Industry Says…

John is a true pioneer in the mobility industry. Those of us with mobility needs have had our lives transformed by his vision, determination and creativity. He has given me, and many others, a means to regain lost independence and lifechanging freedom. Thank you for everything John…enjoy your retirement.
-Tony Amorello, customer & friend

John’s development of his business and his hand in the nurturing of the vehicle modification industry, setting the standards to what it has become nationally, has advanced the lives of individuals with disabilities throughout our country making people mobile and, most importantly, independent. Where would we be without John’s vision and hard work? Thank you John Bussani.
-Robert Pipia, Nassau County district court Judge customer & friend

John and the Drive-Master family go back at least 48 years when my dad Alan Ruprecht and John met. John started buying his hand controls. We have had a wonderful friendship since then, and will continue. To fish and call the nurse for libations. Congratulations on your retirement, you have certainly built a lasting legacy. Lv Ya man, Peter.”
-Peter Ruprecht president, Drive-Master Co., Inc.

When I was a green horn in the industry 14 years ago, I tucked myself under John’s wing and said ‘teach me.’ He was so willing to help, a great mentor, and we’ve been friends ever since.
-Greg Kiser, vice president of consumer sales, BraunAbility

John Bussani represents the very best in the accessiblemobility industry from his warm and welcoming personality to the products and services he delivers to his customers. It has been an honor for me to do business with JB.
-Brendan Healy, Eastern Regional sales manager, Q’Straint

This article appeared in Able Newspaper – Volume 26 – Number 5 – November 2016

WWII Vet Receives Accessible Van on 92nd Birthday


Yesterday, State Farm sponsored the donation of a wheelchair accessible van to WWII Veteran Sidney Germanski. We were so happy to be able to host the ceremony at the Bussani Mobility Team’s Mamaroneck, NY location, and provide the mobility conversion.

WATCH FIOS1 NEWS COVERAGE OF THE CEREMONY.

After learning of a local Mamaroneck Veteran’s struggle with daily transportation, State Farm coordinated with Bussani Mobility Team to secure a van and worked with Star Body Collision to have it equipped to meet his needs. The 2007 Dodge Caravan is a wheelchair conversion with fold-out ramp and wheelchair tie-downs.
92-year old Sidney Germanski is legally blind, paralyzed and uses a wheelchair. He depends on his wife and the local Veteran’s Affairs office for his daily transportation needs. “It has been a daily struggle and hardship to get me where I need to be,” commented Mr. Germanski. “This new van will
change my and my wife’s life significantly, and we are so grateful.”
Monday’s vehicle donation ceremony happened to be Mr. Germanski’s birthday. “I couldn’t ask for a better birthday present,” he said.  Mr. Germanski plans to use the new vehicle to travel to the White House where he will be presented with a Medal of Honor for his military service. “One of the most important days of my life,” he said.
Photos courtesy of Risa Hoag.

US Veteran Honored with 2016 Toyota RAV4 at NY Auto Show

Governor Cuomo Opens New York International Auto Show

Photos by Michael Lampert- Mobility Specialist Serving New York City for Bussani Mobility

Congrats to US Army Sergeant First Class Jeffrey Hackett of Oswego, NY, on being presented with his new Toyota RAV4 Hybrid equipped with special steering controls and pedals that can all be used with his left foot. Governor Cuomo awarded him the vehicle at the NY International Auto Show.
Governor Cuomo Opens New York International Auto Show
Governor Cuomo Opens New York International Auto Show
Here’s the story that ran in The Bronx Chronicle on March 27…

Governor Cuomo Opens New York International Auto Show

Ten-day event expected to generate $300 million in economic activity across New York

Yesterday, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo kicked off the official opening of the 116th Annual New York International Automobile Show at the Javits Center on Manhattan’s West Side. The Governor drove a Silver Camaro ZL1 Convertible in a brief parade to kick-off the opening ceremony. More than one million visitors are expected to attend the ten-day event, the largest show of its kind in the country. The show features nearly one thousand of the world’s latest automobiles, trucks, motorcycles, and concept cars at the convention center and is expected to generate more than $300 million in economic activity for the Empire State.
“The New York Auto Show is a time-honored tradition that continues to serve as an important economic generator for the Empire State,” Governor Cuomo said. “By showcasing the industry’s best manufacturers and state-of-the-art designs all under one roof, this event keeps visitors and car enthusiasts like myself coming back year after year.”
The opening ceremony included celebrity appearances, musical performances, and was highlighted by the donation of a brand new SUV to an Afghanistan War hero who was injured in combat.
Toyota and the New York International Auto Show joined forces to celebrate and honor US Army Sergeant First Class Jeffrey Hackett of Oswego County, New York. Toyota is donating a 2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid to. Hackett lost his right leg and suffered serious injuries all over his body due to an IED explosion that happened when he and his fellow soldiers were clearing a house in Afghanistan in 2011.
Governor Cuomo awarded SFC Hackett with an honorary license plate for his new RAV4. To assist Hackett, the Bussani Mobility Team of Bethpage, N.Y., equipped the RAV 4 with special steering controls and pedals that all can be used with a left foot. During his 19 years of military service, Hackett earned more than a dozen awards, including the Bronx Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal and Purple Heart.

Win a Wheelchair Accessible Van!

Four wheelchair accessible vans will be given away this May as part of the fourth annual National Mobility Awareness Month contest. The National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) is sponsoring the event, with the participation of local dealers like Bussani Mobility Team all across North America.
Bussani Mobility Team
“Over 18 million people in the U.S. and Canada have mobility challenges. But so many aren’t aware of the adaptive driving options that are available to help them live an active and mobile lifestyle,” said Daniel J. Bussani, Vice President at Bussani Mobility Team. “The National Mobility Awareness Month contest helps to spread the word, raising awareness about how adaptive vehicles can change peoples’ lives and give them new hope to live out their dreams.”
The search is now on through the online contest for four Local Heroes in North America who have a story to tell about how they are triumphing over their mobility challenges through their academic and career ambitions, as well as their family and local community contributions. Local Heroes can be defined as people who volunteer, educate, advocate, achieve, and persevere.
Written or videotaped stories can be submitted at www.MobilityAwarenessMonth.com. Voting begins on May 1 and closes on May 31, 2015. Caregivers, friends and family members are also welcome to submit entries. Be sure to use code P4HD4 (representing Bussani Mobility Team) and you’ll automatically get 10 extra votes.
During the last week of May, the four people with the most votes will be awarded their new wheelchair accessible vehicles. Sponsors Chrysler, Toyota, AutoNation, Chairiot Mobility, BraunAbility, VMI and El Dorado Mobility have rallied together to provide the vehicles and conversions, which will be customized to the winners.
Dave Hubbard, executive director and CEO of NMEDA, said about the National Mobility Awareness Month contest: “We’re delighted to continue this important movement after three successful years. We welcomed more than 1,425 story entries, had over 4 million votes cast, created over 1.3 billion impressions and delivered wheelchair accessible vehicles to four amazing Local Heroes. We remain humbled by the response and look forward to creating life-changing experiences in the lives of this year’s winners.”

Single Mom With Disability Receives Life-Changing Holiday Miracle Gift: Wheelchair Accessible Van

Van DonationTerri12-14 #6
A single, disabled mom living in Suffolk County, NY, received a life-changing holiday miracle gift on Monday. Theresa Thomas was presented with a refurbished Chrysler Town & Country wheelchair accessible van at Bussani Mobility Team in Smithtown, NY, where she became the second annual recipient of the company’s Peter Zarba Memorial Van Donation Program. New Beginnings (a community center for brain injury rehabilitation) arranged the introduction between the two parties that has made this heart-felt wish come true.
Van DonationTerri12-14 #4
A former nurse, Theresa became severely disabled 7 years ago at the age of 39 by a genetic condition triggered during pregnancy that left her confined to bed. She has two sons, aged 15 and 7. And her mother, aged 70, uses a wheelchair as a result of a brain injury and two strokes. As Theresa’s condition worsened and she was no
Van DonationTerri12-14 #8
longer able to leave the house, let alone work, the family fell homeless and lived in shelters for several years and the children moved from school to school. The struggles they endured, just to live a basic life with food, shelter, and schooling, were unimaginable. But she never gave up fighting…to get well, to find a place for her family to live, to give back.
Van DonationTerri12-14 #7
With the wheelchair accessible van, Theresa will be mobile again. She will regain her independence and be able to take care of her family in the way they were accustomed to before her physical disability set in.
Overjoyed at the presentation ceremony, Theresa Thomas said: “They didn’t give us a van. They gave us life…This beautiful gift allows us the ability to have a productive future. I can return to work, continue school, and begin to provide for my family again. All these things would never have been possible without your grace. We will live in a perpetual state of ‘pay it forward.’ You are Christmas angels to us and we thank you kindly for this immense Christmas blessing!”
Theresa is working to finish her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology so she can become a social worker and live a life of service to others. She eventually wants to open a not-for-profit in Suffolk County connecting the disabled, mentally ill, homeless, and veterans to the many resources Long Island has to offer.
Van DonationTerri12-14 #3
“There’s no end to what this remarkable woman will do to help her family and the disabled community here on Long Island now that she has her own wheelchair accessible vehicle to get around,” said Daniel Bussani, Vice President at Bussani Mobility Team. “She has big dreams. With her perseverance, strength and compassion, we have no doubt that she’ll reach every one of them and she’ll touch many lives for the good.”
Van DonationTerri12-14 SMALL
The van was donated by a Bussani Mobility Team customer and refurbished by the company. Two other local automotive companies contributed to the effort: Third Generation Auto Body (donated the body work) and Don’s Hand Car Wash (donated the detail work).

Bussani Mobility Team

(
www.bussanimobility.com
and
www.bussanicommercial.com
) is a leading provider of automotive mobility products and services for people with disabilities. The company helps people with disabilities regain the freedom and independence to go where they want to go and do what they want to do. Established in 1974 with headquarters in Bethpage, NY (Nassau County) and with offices in Smithtown (Suffolk County), Mamaroneck (Westchester County) and Long Island City (Queens), Bussani Mobility Team is a market leader in the Tri-State (NY, NJ, CT) area. The company’s team of experts offers: a complete line of wheelchair vans and mobility equipment from top manufacturers available for purchase or rental, wheelchair accessible taxis, a full-service automotive shop, 24-hour emergency service, special financing options, insurance services, educational opportunities, and in-store consultants who are dedicated to meeting their customers’ every need with a highly personal touch.
New Beginnings
(
www.nbli.org
), a not-for-profit 501©3, was founded by Allyson Barone Scerri after her father suffered a traumatic brain injury in 2007. Allyson quickly realized that as a caregiver in a family hit by TBI, there was a serious lack of coordinated services and her vision was to have them all connected under one roof. In April of 2010 Allyson opened the doors to a state of the art, never before seen facility for TBI rehab where all necessary modalities of treatment including Hyperbaric Oxygen are found under that one roof. Her facility is praised by medical professionals who are world renowned experts in the TBI field. She has geared the facility to be a Community Center that reaches out to TBI victims as well as victims of all other cognitive & physically disabling conditions and their caregiving families.

Congrats to 3 Winners of Wheelchair Accessible Vans

The winners of the “National Mobility Awareness Month” contest have been announced — and each of them has been awarded a customized wheelchair accessible van! They are:
• Alberto Cruz (from Connecticut) – Last summer, the 15-year-old became paralyzed while surfing on Narragansett Beach, R.I. Despite grueling therapy sessions after the accident, Cruz chose to continue his schooling and remain connected with his community. This moved his teacher, Lynn Frazier, who nominated him as a Local Hero. “Heroes attract other heroes. Alberto’s courage touched something deep inside my students and their families,” said Frazier. “It planted a seed of hope in our community.”
• Ken Davert (from Michigan) – Managing his own cerebral palsy, Ken and his family are also coping with wife Missy’s and their 13-year-old twins’ (Austin and Michaela) osteogenesis imperfecta (which is a brittle bone condition). The family is active in their community from Michaela in Girl Scouts to Missy as a life-long advocate for people with disabilities.
• Ron Miner (from Illinois) – Miner is a disabled, U.S. Army veteran who was injured during active duty. After the incident, he became depressed. However, upon hearing about a wheelchair bodybuilding competition, he resolved to turn his life around. With intense training, he became a Wheelchair Bodybuilding Champion and won numerous gold medals at the National Veterans Wheelchair Games. Today, he is an activist for those with disabilities.
If you want to hear more about their stories, click here.
Each winner will take ownership of their vans, valued at $40,000 each, later this summer. Sponsors Toyota, SanTan Honda in Chandler, Ariz. and Chrysler came together to provide the vehicles, which will now be modified by NMEDA member manufacturers – BraunAbility and Vantage Mobility International.
This was the first year of the contest, which was sponsored by the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA). It drew in more than 1,700 entries and 1.2 million votes were cast online. The purpose was to spread the word among seniors, veterans and people with disabilities across the U.S. and Canada that a variety of mobility options are available to help them lead more independent lives.
Bussani Mobility Team wants to thank all of our customers who participated in the contest.

Wheelchair Van Donated to Wounded Warrior at NY Auto Show

This year’s NY Auto Show at the Javits Center was as spectacular as it has always been. Some of the engineering marvels and futuristic concept cars just had to be seen to be believed! Take the Terrafugia Transition (a flying car!) or the SRT Viper (one of the world’s fastest cars with 640 horsepower and 600 pound-feet of torque).
Bussani Mobility Team was there, too, at the NMEDA (National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association) booth. Our featured products may not have been quite as fantastic and flamboyant as some of the others, but they do change people’s lives. We showcased a Braun Entervan fitted for use by people with physical disabilities – and we helped spread the word to the general population about wheelchair accessible vans and other adaptive automotive solutions that are available today.
We were also proud to take part, through the Wounded Warrior Project, in donating a wheelchair accessible van to a disabled American veteran. Corporal Christopher Melendez of New York state, who was injured in Iraq, received his new vehicle at the NY Auto Show’s opening ceremony. Kia Motors America supplied a 2012 Kia Soul hatchback, which we modified to meet his needs, including adding a steering wheel device that allows him to turn the steering wheel using one hand while maintaining complete control of the wheel and car at all times. Want to hear more about it? Click here to see an article in the Wall Street Journal’s MarketWatch.