For the second year in a row, a team of volunteers from Numotion travelled to Guatemala in October to provide free wheelchairs and repairs for the underprivileged and orphans. Organized by Bethel Ministries International, this trip was a follow-up to one taken by employee volunteers last year when 140 chairs were delivered.
This year’s trip turned out to be even more meaningful, as a last minute hiccup made it a bit more challenging. Another group (not affiliated with Numotion) had to back out of the trip, meaning many people in Guatemala would have to wait until next year for a chair or needed repairs. It’s important to note that this trip is completely voluntary and paid for by employees. Numotion was called upon to help make up for the missing funds from the other group – $6,500 – to ensure those in Guatemala who needed equipment didn’t have to wait another year.
A GoFundMe campaign was started, and Numotion CEO Mike Swinford pledged to match all donations. In just one week, employees raised more than $13,500, including Mike’s matching funds. That not only allowed Bethel and the 12-person team to provide all the planned wheelchairs and repairs, but made it possible to do even more repairs while the Numotion team was in Guatemala.
“It is amazing to think that we impacted more than 125 people with disabilities in the span of three days, and provided them the opportunity to be ‘born again’ with new opportunities,” said Ryan Martin, a Numotion ATP and trip volunteer. “Providing this equipment made a difference in those 125 lives, but as we are all aware, the equipment also positively impacts the lives of each family member.”
This was the third trip to the country for Ryan Hagy, Regional VP for Texas and New Mexico, who appreciates the Bethel model of providing not only wheelchairs, about 1,300 every year, but regular follow-up service.
“Bethel runs a wheelchair shop (Ministerio Cristiano Bethel) 365 days a year, and they have the country mapped out and go to the same places on an annual basis to do repairs and modifications. So they have follow-up care for these people years into the future,” shared Hagy.
It was the second trip to Guatemala for Martin, who says he was struck by both the appreciation and the need that is so evident.
“The first day we travelled 3½ hours by van (to Asuncion Mita). We were 15 miles from El Salvador,” he said. “There were literally 80 to 100 people sitting in a town square waiting for us. That’s the thing that sticks out to me and is kind of overwhelming, how many people are in need and how grateful they are for anything you can do for them. They are so grateful for the most basic equipment.”
Many people from Numotion have volunteered for such projects in countries around the world, and Martin recommends it for anyone considering it.
“You can think of a million reasons not to do it,” Martin says. “The minute you do it, you’re hooked. You witness what it’s like to provide something that they really don’t have the resources to get. It is an amazing once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
Many thanks go out to Numotion team for donating their time to help bring mobility to those in need!
- Doug Burton, ATP, Nashville
- Robert Cooper, ATP, Kansas City
- Andy Foster, ATP, Nashville
- Ryan Hagy, RVP of Sales, Texas & New Mexico
- Adam Hawks, ATP, Chicago
- Ted Malkowski, ATP, Appleton, Wisc.
- Ryan Martin, ATP, Columbus, Ohio
- Justin Peterfish, Regional Sales Director
The crowd gathers in a city building in Guatemala City as people line up to receive a new wheelchair along with family members and caregivers.
A happy customer and family member from the Guatemala City wheelchair distribution poses with Ryan Martin (back center) and his son Remington (back right), after receiving service for his wheelchair.
With funds raised in Numotion’s GoFundMe campaign, Bethel Ministries International was able to fit 54 people with wheelchairs in Guatemala City in one morning. One customer was a 19 year old young man with paraplegia and 3 active wounds who received his first wheelchair. He was only able to make it to the wheelchair distribution by borrowing a wheelchair from a friend. He had previously been confined to bed and could go out only by being carried by his family and friends.
Andy Foster makes adjustments to better fit a wheelchair for one of the 56 children and adults who received new wheelchairs in Asuncion Mita.
A young boy at the Anini orphanage celebrates his repaired wheelchair with Ryan Hagy (left) and Ted Malkowski (right).
Justin Peterfish (seated left) and Robert Cooper (standing right) make repairs to one of the 13 wheelchairs repaired at the Anini orphanage.