SYSK: Chris Gates builds equipment for people with disabilities - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

SYSK: Chris Gates builds equipment for people with disabilities


by Danielle Wagner

ROWLEY (KWWL) A reclining wheelchair is one of the many modifications Chris Gates makes to wheelchairs.

Gates suffers from progressive multiple sclerosis, and for the past five years he's used his experiences with physical challenges to help others.

"Chris' main point is to help people with challenges get what they want instead of sitting in some wheelchair store bought and not modified for them," said Kochell Ricklefs.

Kochell Ricklefs is a business consultant for Chris Gates through the Iowa Self-Employment Program.

Gates started Gater Unlimited, LLC to build and design almost anything you can think of that helps someone with a disability.

He modified a shop vac to attach to his wheelchair so he can clean the garage. He built a remote controlled crane in his garage, and Gates is developing a hitch so disabled farmers never have to leave the seat of their tractors.

"We have a three-point hitch that goes on the back of a tractor that will automatically hook and unhook from any piece of equipment you have," said Chris Gates.

Pretty much any idea someone brings to Gates, he comes up with a solution. Like a young man who wanted to deer hunt with very limited mobility.

"He runs chair with thumb and wanted to shoot a deer himself. Three days later I had him out here with a 20 gauge shotgun shooting within a quarter inch of the bulls eye," said Gates.

Gates said he always had a hobby of tinkering. Now, it's his job but still not work.

"I tell people I have a client who's a MacGyver of sorts. He can do just about anything, and if he can't, he knows who or what can help him accomplish it," said Kochell Ricklefs.

Sometimes insurance covers the cost if it's for vocational rehabilitation, but Gates doesn't believe people should have to pay big bucks to live an easier life. He builds what people need, and does what he can to make his designs affordable.

"Just try to help everybody I can," he said.

Chris Gates said he couldn't keep going without help from his friends, and he plans to keep going as long as he's physically able.

For more information on Chris Gates and Gater Unlimited, search him on Facebook.

Reporter: Danielle Wagner

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