Firms Build Customized Vehicles for Disabled
Left a paraplegic by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan two years ago, retired Marine Jack Pierce vows not to let his disability leave him in life’s slow lane.
USA Today reported that Pierce applies that attitude to pretty much everything, including. right now, his summer vacation.
Pierce plans to drive his wife and 2-year-old son a tour of national parks and monuments in their 2012 Ford F-350 Super Duty pickup, towing a fifth-wheel RV trailer specially outfitted for his needs. And tethered to the trailer will be a three-wheel motorcycle that lets him drive in his wheelchair.
“You can get out on the road and feel the wind in your hair,” says Pierce, 38, of Belton, Texas. “You’re not stuck in your house. You can get out in your RV and take your medical supplies with you.”
Wounded vets such as Pierce are a challenge for the industry that converts vehicles to accommodate people in wheelchairs or with other disabilities. After seeing sales grow for ramp-outfitted minivans to serve an aging population, converters now are having to think young.
They are using innovation and design savvy to create vehicles for a new group of customers, veterans, mostly men in their 20s and 30s, determined to live life as much as they can without concession to their disability — including in their choice of vehicles.
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