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The SCOOTER Store Donates Power Scooter to Former NYPD Officer Who Responded to 9/11

Gift of Mobility Lets Disabled Middle Island Man Enjoy His Young Family and Active Life

MIDDLE ISLAND, N.Y., April 7, 2008 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- After terrorists attacked the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, New York City Patrolman Kevin O'Connor was dispatched to help at the scene. Now, more than seven years later, O'Connor needs help overcoming respiratory complications from working at Ground Zero and injuries suffered later in the line of duty.

At 32, Mr. O'Connor wants to enjoy an active life. But the married father of three young children is disabled because of respiratory problems and a debilitating condition that resulted from being struck by an all-terrain vehicle driven by a teenager. Mr. O'Connor has struggled to maneuver his manual wheelchair and needs power mobility equipment to improve his quality of life.

Citing Mr. O'Connor's many contributions to our society, The SCOOTER Store has helped the disabled officer by providing him with a power scooter though its Gift of Mobility program. The donation was a surprise to Mr. O'Connor, who received it at a benefit sponsored by his friends at the Smithtown Country Kitchen on April 6. Distribution Center Managers Anthony Pepe and George Santos from The SCOOTER Store presented the power wheelchair at the Sunday event.

The donation was made in cooperation with the FealGood Foundation, which was formed to help 9/11 responders. "We thank The SCOOTER Store for helping make this event a wonderful experience for Kevin," said John Feal, who runs the foundation. "Like so many other young men, Kevin was there when his country needed him most. And the least we can do is show our appreciation for his sacrifice."

US Representative Tim Bishop (D-NY), who attended the event, said: "Our nation owes a great debt to the brave first responders who risked their lives to save others. Kevin O'Connor well deserves this gift, generously donated by the SCOOTER Store. We must continue to fight to give 9/11 first responders the health care and other assistance they need because of the sacrifices they have made."

Suffolk County Legislator John M. Kennedy Jr. also attended the event, which attracted a large crowd of supporters.

Mr. Feal says he appreciated how quickly The SCOOTER Store worked with the foundation to make the gift to Mr. O'Connor possible.

Times have been difficult for Mr. O'Connor, who suffers from respiratory problems and post-traumatic stress syndrome caused by his assignment to help clean up the site of the destroyed towers. Later, after Mr. O'Connor went to work as a park policeman. He was hurt in the line of duty when a teenager operating an ATV, illegally, ran him over. He developed reflex sympathetic dystrophy, which is a chronic, painful and progressive neurological condition affecting skin, muscles, joints and bones.

His wife, Catherine, says the whole family will benefit from the scooter because "it will allow us to go out as a family, to places like the zoo, the circus, and even trick-or-treating on Halloween -- places, where I have had to go alone with our little kids." With the scooter, Mr. O'Connor can join them and also help his family by doing errands. A lift for the chair was donated by Harmar Mobility of Sarasota, Florida, when they heard about Mr. O'Connor's need.

Doug Harrison, CEO and Founder of The SCOOTER Store, said he is pleased that "the scooter will greatly improve the quality of life for O'Connor and his family. We are proud to be able to help this hero who has already given so much of himself to others."

Mr. Harrison and his wife, Susanna, started the Gift of Mobility program in December 2002 to help people like Mr. O'Connor improve their quality of life by recovering their independence and mobility. Since then, the outreach program has worked with organizations around the world to donate power wheelchairs, scooters and manual wheelchairs valued at more than $200,000 a year to community service organizations, enabling them to provide freedom and independence to individuals with limited mobility.

The primary mission of the FealGood Foundation (, a nonprofit organization, is to spread awareness and educate the public about the catastrophic health effects on 9/11 first responders, as well as to provide assistance to relieve these great heroes of the financial burdens placed on them. A secondary goal of the foundation is to create an advocacy network on 9/11 health issues. The foundation advocates for Ground Zero workers, and shows them how to be their own advocates and help others through grassroots activism.

About The SCOOTER Store

Since 1991, The SCOOTER Store has helped provide freedom and independence to more than 300,000 people with limited mobility. The SCOOTER Store offers a full line of durable medical equipment, including power wheelchairs and scooters, lifts, ramps and accessories in 47 states, including three stores in the New York area. The SCOOTER Store has worked with more than 100,000 physicians, providing expertise and quality service to their patients, and is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Health Care.

For more information, contact:

Mark B. Leita

Director of Public Affairs - The SCOOTER Store


Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

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