What a truly awesome and gratifying day! Former Marine, Earnest Lawrence from Woodstock, GA, gained some freedom on April 1st, 2022. Earnest suffers from a brain disorder that causes him to be suddenly and unpredictably paralyzed down the left side of his body. This then renders him bedridden for several days following. The Patriot Fund, Inc. provided Defender Mobility the funds necessary to allow Defender Mobility’s staff members, Edward Humpert and James Tignanelli (JT), to deliver a Trac Fab off-road wheelchair to him.
Many parts of the puzzle came together and it started to feel like, “The Patriot Fund and Defender Mobility coming together to help Earnest was a marriage made in heaven.” – JT
Along with The Patriot Fund’s grant to help make this mission possible, JT also worked with other organizations to help pull off this delivery to Earnest. Woodstock Baptist Church allowed Defender Mobility to have the chair shipped by truck to them where it was secured for over a week. JT and Edward rented a truck, bought ramps and binders at Tractor Supply, and loaded the chair at the church to get ready for the big reveal.
They both helped transport the chair to M/Sgt Ralph Roeger and his wife Carrie’s local pub, The Semper Fi, where they hid it carefully so that when Earnest and his wife, Cheryl, were meeting their family for dinner. The plan was to surprise Earnest as they would be on their way out of the restaurant. Naturally, Cheryl, who was Defender Mobility’s insider, filled in the pieces to make this surprise truly extraordinary!
“M/Sgt Roeger was a real sport! He was so nice to us and is clearly an asset to all former Marines, what a good dude.” – JT
When Earnest walked out of the restaurant and saw the chair in the “Combat Wounded Veterans Only” parking spot outside Semper Fi, he remarked that, “some guys from Michigan are working on getting me one of these!” JT asked if he had ever seen one up close and if he was certain what his might look like and he remarked that he thought this had to be an exact copy of the one he was dreaming of receiving.
JT then announced that this was, in fact, his Trac Fab chair! In awe and overjoyed with excitement, there were lots of tears shed as he drove it thru the lot! Through this crazy and exciting 24-hour journey with the help of good hearted people and The Patriot Fund’s grant for speeding up the delivery process for Earnest, Chair #32 is in service!
Defender Mobility’s mission as a Veteran charity is to give back to our military heroes. They’ve given everything to defend us and protect our freedom. It’s time to return the favor- one chair at a time!
A Trac Fab off-road wheelchair from Defender Mobility costs $14,307, and The Patriot Fund’s charitable grant covered this expense to make one more deserving Veteran’s life continue on with more ease and accessibility.