When an overturned golf cart accident left him paralyzed from the waist down in 1974, Dennis Walters’ life changed forever.
As reported by the Florida Times-Union, Walters, once a promising PGA Tour player, instead had to adjust to life confined to a wheelchair.
He’s made the most of his life, however, as Walters has remained very involved in golf by becoming a trick-shot artist and putting on the Dennis Walters Golf Show since 1977.
The 62-year-old Walters averages between 90 and 100 shows a year, traveling throughout the United States to put on a one-hour combination Golf Lessons and Life Lessons show from a swivel seat mounted on the passenger side of a golf cart. His trusty co-host and best friend is Bucky, a terrier mix Walters rescued from an animal shelter in 2008.
And when the Jupiter, Fla., resident is on the road between shows, he’s traveling in style and comfort — inside the revolutionary, specially designed Newmar Canyon Star 3911 wheelchair-accessible gas motorhome. It features a built-in wheelchair lift that allows for easy entry and departure.
Walters has been associated with the Nappanee, Ind.-based Newmar Corp. for 18 years, including the company’s sponsorship of his show in exchange for the use of a motorhome. It was about three years ago that the two parties began discussing the idea of a motorhome designed specifically for people confined to a wheelchair.
“The front half of the home would be designed the same, but the second half, we wanted to make it wheelchair-friendly,” Walters said. “This was a tremendous prototype and we built it into the Canyon Star, featuring the best of what I have had in the past and with some additional features that are even better.”
The nearly 40-foot-long Canyon Star was on display at the Jacksonville RV SuperShow, held in February at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center. It drew an abundance of favorable reaction, according to Dana Drake, general manager of Dick Gore’s RV World, an authorized Newmar dealer located at 14590 Duval Place West near Duval Road and Interstate 95.
“We had a lot of positive response and we’re still getting positive response from people,” Drake said. “The wheelchair lift folds up instead of intruding into the RV, so it doesn’t do anything to hamper the move-ability inside the coach when the lift is in the up-and-folded-away position. It’s probably the best design of anything I’ve ever seen.’’
Florida Today reported that Walters was at the RV SuperShow to shoot a marketing video for Newmar and saw firsthand the response from people in wheelchairs and from those who had family members or friends confined to a wheelchair.
“We saw a lot of smiles on people’s faces, including some that were in that situation of being in a wheelchair or were on crutches,” he said. “With this design, it’s going to make RV travel possible for anyone, which I think is fantastic.”
Walters has leg braces that he uses with crutches. But that made accessing or departing the motorhome a cumbersome chore. It required the aid of his assistant, who travels with him, as he made the slow trek — one step at a time, in and out of his previous RV.
Having a lift that enables him to enter and leave the Canyon Star with relative ease has had an impact on his life.
“If I didn’t have my crutches on to leave [the motorhome], I would have to slide down on my back side and then transfer to the wheelchair,” Walters said. “With the lift, I can go out in my wheelchair on the lift. It’s so much easier, so much more convenient.
“It’s made a huge difference in my life,’’ Walters said. “I use to be hesitant to go out of the motorhome if we stopped for dinner during our travels. I would just have my assistant go get me a take-out. Or I might pass up getting out to go shopping, just because of the effort and hassle it was to get in and out.
“But now I go everywhere,” Walters said. “A lot of times, I’m tired traveling 200 days a year. Any time you can save some energy and make life easier, I’m all for it. This thing does it 100%.”
Nappanee, Ind.-based Newmar Corp. will partner with VetsRoll.org to help honor our country’s veterans by lending a Ventana 4337 diesel motorhome from May 20-23, 2012 to use as the pilot vehicle for the 10 Prevost charter coaches filled with veterans and support staff traveling to Washington, DC. President of VetsRoll.org Mark Finnegan and his family – owners of Finnegan’s’ RV Center, Inc. in South Beloit, Ill., since 1969 – will be piloting the Ventana. VetsRoll.org is a program which has raised funds since 2010 to charter buses to take WWII Veterans and the “Rosie the Riveters” (the ladies who entered the workforce in WWII, allowing our factories to continue running) to experience their memorials. The VetsRoll will start off on May 20 departing Beloit, Wis., at 5:59 a.m. with a total of up to 200 Veterans. The 2012 tour consists of: Flight 93 Memorial, Shanksville, Pa.; Iwo Jima Marine Memorial; Korean, Vietnam and Lincoln Memorials; Arlington National Cemetery; Tomb of The Unknown Soldier; WWII Memorial in Washington. “It is truly a privilege to provide Vets Roll with my personal motor home for use as a command center to assist with organizing their trip to Washington D.C.”, said Matt Miller president of Newmar Corp. “Honoring these veterans of our great nation, who have served as far back as World War II, on their trip to our nation’s capital is tremendous. I’m glad to be a part of this event in some small way.” Visit www.VetsRoll.org to donate or call 800-383-2267.
Nappanee, Ind.-based Newmar Corp. debuted its top-end 2013 King Aire and Essex Class A motorhomes Mar. 22-25 at “The Rally” sponsored by Good Sam Enterprises LLC at Arizona’s Phoenix International Raceway. While neither coach line underwent major life cycle changes, both are significantly upgraded for 2013, according to Highline Account Manager Ken Williamson. Newmar gave the King Aire an updated air conditioning system, new-look Corian countertops and new LED tail lights, while both 45-foot lines have more upscale interiors with new optional wood choices and feature ceilings, Girard Nova awnings, enhanced exteriors and two new full wall-slide floorplans. The 600 hp-Cummins-powered King Aire, on a Spartan K3 chassis with a 12.5 KW Onan Quiet Diesel generator, retails for about $830,000. The Essex, on a Spartan K2 platform equipped with a 500-hp Cummins power plant, retails for about $715,000. The rest of Newmar’s 2013’s, gas and diesel, will be rolled out in June, most likely in Louisville at Good Sam’s second rally. “Once the customer takes delivery of either a 2013 King Aire or Essex and the coach and the warranty registration is reported to our company,” reports Vice President of Sales John Sammut, “we send the customer a Sony Tablet which will control remotely all the audio and visual elements of the motorhome. Electronics continue to advance and innovate and we are doing our very best to incorporate those advancements into our product.”
Nappanee, Ind.-based Newmar Corp., today (March 19) announced the dealers receiving the company’s Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) award for 2011.
According to a press release, CSI awards are presented to dealers who scored in a pre-determined percentile based on results from customer surveys. Thirteen Newmar dealers earned this coveted award by providing excellent customer service to Newmar customers receiving warranty work.
The 2011 award winners include: Ansley RV, Duncansville, Pa.; Buddy Gregg Motorhomes, Knoxville, Tenn.; Coachlight RV Sales Inc., Carthage, Mo.; Dave’s RV Center, Danbury, Conn.; Dick Gore’s RV World, Jacksonville, Fla.; Guaranty RV Center, Junction City, Ore.; Independence RV Sales & Service, Winter Garden, Fla.; Midstate Camper Sales, Black Hawk, S.D.; Midtown RV LTD, Penticton, B.C.; Midway Motor Homes Inc., Grand Rapids, Mich.; North Trail RV Center, Fort Myers, Fla.; Professional Sales RV, Colleyville, Texas; and Tom Johnson Camping Center, Marion, N.C.
“Newmar feels this award is important because we value how our mutual customers are treated and that the service experience is a positive one,” said Newmar’s Vice President of Service Operations Matt Utley. “Newmar is pleased with the customer support provided by our dealer partners. As confirmed by their customers, the dealers earning this award possess a strong commitment of customer satisfaction that permeates through their entire organization. We are proud of their achievements.”
Four dealers this year also earned the Mahlon Miller Service Excellence Award. Miller is the founder of Newmar and the award in his name recognizes those dealerships that most embody the spirit of customer service.
This elite group includes North Trail RV, Guaranty RV, Dave’s RV and Coachlight RV Sales.
“Mr. Miller and the entire Miller family have a passion for customers,” added Utley. “Through his guidance and leadership, customer service will be forever engrained into the fabric of Newmar.”
Guaranty RV Super Centers has been recognized as the top Newmar Corp. service provider in its category. According to a press release, this award is based upon customer service results addressing warranty service from dealers.
“As long as our customers are happy, we know we’re doing our job right,” said Shannon Nill, owner of Junction City, Ore.-based Guaranty. “However, it’s an honor to be recognized with such a prestigious award. We’re proud of our team here at Guaranty RV and always strive for complete customer satisfaction in every facet of our business,”
Only four Mahlon Miller Service Excellence awards are presented each year in recognition of their excellence in customer satisfaction as it relates to warranty work and service experience with the dealer. Items considered include professionalism of the service department personnel, service personnel’s understand of customer needs, timeliness of repairs as promised, quality of work performed and likelihood to recommend the dealer to others.
“On behalf of Newmar Corp., I’d like to extend my congratulations to the service team at Guaranty RV for a job well done in satisfying our mutual customers,” said Matt Miller, president of Nappanee, Ind.-based Newmar. “I know that Matt Utley (vice president of service and parts at Newmar) and his team worked diligently with the entire staff at Guaranty to achieve the highest level of satisfaction in the area of customer service. Guaranty RV and Newmar share so many of the same core values in the way we run our businesses, so it is only appropriate that they earned the Mahlon Miller Service Excellence Award in 2011.”
Newmar Corp. today (Jan. 20) announced the promotion of Pat Terveer to director of luxury sales, product planning and design.
According to a news release, Terveer joined Nappanee, Ind.-based Newmar in February of 2007 as its director of sales. In his new role, he will be responsible for overseeing all of Newmar’s luxury sales, as well as directing the product planning and design for all Newmar products. He will continue to report to John Sammut, vice president of sales and marketing.
“Pat has been in the RV industry for over 30 years,” said Sammut. “During his career, Pat was instrumental in the creation of the American Coach brand in 1991. Pat’s wealth of experience, fine eye for luxury motorhomes as well as his strong relationships with luxury motorhome owners makes him the ideal candidate for this position.”
Terveer noted, “This expansion of my product planning responsibilities to include the Mountain Aire, Essex and King Aire brands is something of a homecoming for me. I am very excited about this opportunity.”
Jacksonville, Fla.-based Dick Gore’s RV World announced it will be carrying the 2012 Canyon Star 3911 by Newmar Corp., the first luxury motor coach designed from the ground up to be wheelchair accessible.
According to a press release, the Canyon Star 3911 is a full-size Class A motorhome built on a Ford chassis and powered by a V10 gas engine.
“Unlike units that have been aftermarket adapted for handicap access, the Canyon Star 3911 was actually built with wheelchair access in mind,” says Dana Drake, general manager at Dick Gore’s RV World. “It has all the luxury you could want — a plush interior, three slideouts, rear and side cameras, truffle full-paint Masterpiece finish — but it also has a 48-inch power wheelchair lift, lowered switches and controls, and a 30-inch path through the coach, even with the slides in.”
Other features include:
• Lowered cooktop with the microwave below.
• 48-inch by 37-inch roll-in shower with seat.
• Accessible sink, with lowered mirror and cabinet and commode grab bars.
• Wheelchair storage behind the passenger seat.
• Combo dinette with table that accommodates wheelchairs.
Dick Gore’s RV World is a full-service dealership with with three locations in Jacksonville, St. Augustine and Richmond Hill, Ga.
Newmar Corp., a manufacturer of Class A motorhomes and fifth-wheels, has expanded its dealer base in Canada with the addition of Bella Vista RV Centre in Hawkestone, Ontario.
“The Newmar sales and management team is happy to have Bella Vista RV Centre join its dealer network,” said John Sammut, Newmar vice president of sales and marketing, in a press release. “Bella Vista shares our goals in terms of quality, value, and customer service. They run an excellent dealership in Canada and we are looking forward to a profitable relationship with them in the Ontario market.”
Bella Vista will sell Newmar’s gas motorhome products, which include the new Bay Star Sport, Bay Star and Canyon Star brands.
“Bella Vista has a very clean quality facility in a quality location with a modern showroom and service bays,” said Doug Drover, sales account manager for Nappanee, Ind.-based Newmar. “I think Bella Vista is an excellent up and coming motorhome dealer in the province of Ontario and we are excited to grow with them in the future.”
Bella Vista is a relatively new dealership that was established in 2007 serving the greater Toronto and southern Ontario market area. It is a family based business offering “good value with the emphasis on customer service,” according to Newmar.
Newmar Corp. announced today (Nov. 21) that it will show the RV industry’s first use of Sony 3D television technology at the Nov. 29-Dec. 1 49th Annual National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky.
According to a press release, the televisions will be shown in the 2012 Essex Class A diesel motorhome at the event, and will also be available on Newmar’s 2012 King Aire diesel pusher.
“Newmar’s introduction of Sony 3D technology in its luxury motorhome lines is just another RV industry first brought to market by our company,” said Kyle McCrary, Newmar’s director of luxury motorhome sales. “Thanks to the Miller family and the resources they provide, our company has a legacy of being an innovator in the RV industry. Newmar will remain committed to innovation when the opportunity presents itself.”
In a partnership between Sony and Newmar, visitors to the Newmar display will be able to experience the Sony 3D TV first hand, as well as have the opportunity to enter a drawing for a chance to win a Sony 3D television prize package.
For more information about Newmar products, visit www.newmarcorp.com
Nappanee, Ind.-based Newmar Corp. will introduce the all-new Bay Star Sport Class A gas motorhome at the 49th Annual National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky., set to run Nov. 29-Dec. 1 at the Kentucky Exposition Center (KEC).
According to a press release, the entry-level Bay Star Sport represents “the best value in a Class A gas motorhome since Newmar’s introduction of the Bay Star in 2006.”
The Bay Star Sport will be offered in four models ranging from 27 to 33 feet in length, built on Ford F-53 chassis and powered by the Ford Triton V-10 engine. Newmar said it plans to build the Bay Star Sport utilizing “the same construction, air conditioning system and slideout mechanism the company uses on all of its other products, while still offering the entry-level gas product at an affordable price.”
“The success Newmar has had with the 2012 Ventana LE since its introduction at last year’s show in Louisville, prompted our company to take similar approach in developing a lower cost version of our Bay Star gas motorhome,” said John Sammut, Newmar’s vice president of sales. “We feel that the price at which we are offering this well-valued product will render our company added business without taking sales away from Newmar’s best-selling brand, the Bay Star.”
The line starts with a base MSRP of $93,450 for the dual-slide 2702 model. Standard features include gel-coated fiberglass sidewalls with vinyl graphics, Dometic six cubic-foot refrigerator, 32-inch LCD TV in the front living area, Dometic patio awning and one piece tinted windshield. Optional equipment includes partial exterior paint treatment, hydraulic leveling system, slideout awnings and a 600-watt inverter. The Sport will be available in two stylish interior packages along with two wood finishes.
For more information about Newmar products, visit www.newmarcorp.com.