Dubuque veterans group receives donation, pays it forward - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Dubuque veterans group receives donation, pays it forward

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78-year-old Air Force veteran Bruce Breneman relaxes into his new wheelchair 78-year-old Air Force veteran Bruce Breneman relaxes into his new wheelchair
DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

In the cycle of "paying it forward," Wednesday, came wheelchairs, canes and walkers from the Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa in Wisconsin.

Patty Powers is an administrative assistant at the Dominicans' health center and helped deliver a donation

"We had an excess amount of equipment that wasn't being used and thought maybe we could donate it," Powers said.

The Wisconsin group gave the gear to the Veterans Freedom Center in Dubuque. Jim Wagner is a co-founder of the center.

"Here's an example where they had some extras and they're passing it along, so we can pass it on to other people," Wagner said, of the Dominican sisters' donation.

While bringing the equipment into the center, Wagner and co-founder Al Rowell noticed one chair in particular.

"We also have one larger wheelchair for more of a special needs or maybe advance care patient," Powers said, describing the larger, reclining wheelchair.

"We get veterans that need something like that and we don't have them. That big one's a great one," Wagner said. The Veterans Freedom Center keeps donated equipment on hand to give to veterans who need it.

That same day, Wagner and Rowell brought the chair to Ennoble Manor Care Center in Dubuque, where they knew of a veteran who could use it.

Staff members, however, informed the men that veteran had recently died.

However, whether a coincidence or something more, 78-year-old Air Force veteran and current Ennoble Manor resident Bruce Breneman was in need of the exact kind of chair Wagner and Rowell had just brought.

The chair found a home and Breneman found freedom from back pain.

"It's going to take away a lot of the pain I've been having," he said gratefully. "Already, my pain feels better because of the way I can sit on this."

Staff members said they and Breneman had discussed just that morning the veteran's need for a wheelchair upgrade. That afternoon, the Veterans Freedom Center donation showed up, which, of course, had arrived just minutes before from the Sinsinawa Dominicans.

That's the healing power of paying it forward.

The Veterans Freedom Center is a non-profit community center open and free to any veteran of the US Armed Forces. It's at 2245 Kerper Boulevard in Dubuque.

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