New wheelchair gives paralyzed veteran independence - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

New wheelchair gives paralyzed veteran independence

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Dan Alberts can tell you better than anyone- your disability doesn't define you. For the past twenty years, Alberts hasn't let anything slow him down from his love of the outdoors, even being paralyzed.

Alberts served in the Army from 1984-1988, overseas in Germany. What ultimately left him paralyzed didn't happen at war. 

"I had a snowmobile accident in 1997," said Alberts. " It wasn't the accident-it was the surgery. I'm a T12 paraplegic."

Albert's love for the outdoors came to a standstill. Since then, it hasn't always been smooth sailing. 

"Call my wife a lot and my dad a lot just to get me unstuck from places," said Alberts. 

He's been dependent on a wheelchair that can only get him so far. Until today, when he was presented with an all terrain action wheelchair. 

Employees from ITC Midwest, an electric transmission company based in Cedar Rapids raised enough money to donate to the Paralyzed Veterans of America(PVA)-Iowa chapter to purchase Alberts' new all terrain wheelchair. 

"I want to thank the ITC and the PVA," said Alberts. "They've been very good to me, and I really appreciate it."

ITC Midwest employees raised more than $12,000 for the PVA to purchase the all-terrain wheelchair.

"We really appreciate the service that our veterans have given," said ITC Midwest Regional Manager. "Especially Dan and working with the PVA group, and their willingness to help us find somebody that's a good recipient of the chair."

"This one, hopefully I won't get it stuck as much you know. I can get across a field or out to the river if I wanted to or you know I live out in the country and I just enjoy being outside."

For Alberts, it's more than just a new set of wheels. Now, Alberts has a renewed sense of independence. 

"This year our whole family went down to Pella," said Alberts. "It was the first time I had been able to go on the beach in twenty years. And I could go anywhere on the beach I wanted to. It just gave me more independence."

The PVA Iowa is committed to helping veterans get back to what they love doing. One of their main missions is funding important research on spinal cord injuries. 

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