The Independence Fund's Mobility Program, open to Veterans of all eras (like all Independence Fund programs), provides catastrophically wounded Veterans the chance to get back outside so that they can enjoy the outdoors through a variety of devices that include all-terrain wheelchairs and adaptive bicycles.
Private First Class (PFC) Richard Hughes joined the U.S. Marine Corps in June of 1967, in the same month of his high school graduation. Knowing that the draft was coming, the Williamsport, PA product decided to step up and serve his country voluntarily. After graduating basic training in Parris Island, SC, Hughes deployed to Vietnam in November 1967, as part of the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines (2/3). His battalion was homebased at Phu Bai Combat Base, just south of Hué City. After a couple of months Hughes' division took mortar fire, and his life would be forever changed. "We walked out on hill 861A around January 1, 1968," recalled Hughes "I remember sitting on top of the Captain's, serving guard duty on the day I got hit, February 26. I heard a thump in the valley. Being a mortarman, I knew exactly what that sounds was, but had no idea where it came from. I just stayed there, still. The mortar round landed really close. I don't remember losing consciousness, but some of the other guys told me that I flew up in the air." In the blast, Hughes' right leg and right arm were blown off, and he suffered major injuries to his left leg that would result in amputation. He was also deemed legally blind from eye injuries suffered in the blast. In addition, Hughes lost three digits on his left hand. He was medevac'd to Khe Sanh and spent the night in a hospital in Da Nang, before being moved to USS Repose, a hospital ship in the waters outside of Japan. Hughes was medically retired from service in August 1968, and he and another Marine were soon after selected to represent the 2/3 Marines in Washington DC, in a ceremony to commemorate the division receiving a Presidential Unit Citation from President Lyndon B. Johnson. After a few years, Hughes decided to go to college and received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Education from Piedmont Bible College in 1984. That September, Hughes was hired by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to work as a prosthetic representative, and eventually went on to work as a Chief of Prosthetics at numerous VA facilities. He retired from the VA in April 1992 as the Chief of Prosthetics at the W.G. (Bill) Hefner VA Hospital in Salisbury, NC. Hughes is thrilled to receive an all-terrain chair from The Independence Fund, as it will allow him to do many things he never thought would be possible. "I'm looking forward to going to the beach, and getting out fishing," said Hughes. "Mostly though I'm excited to go hunting with my grandson. I'm elated. I'm expecting to build a whole new life because of this." He and his wife reside in Winston-Salem, NC.
Proudly built in the USA, TracFab offers two different unit sizes to best suit your needs. We offer a 36-Inch wide model, and a 30-inch wide (into vans and through doorways, all access model). Incorporating racing style seats, or medical grade seating, TracFab takes great pride in consulting with each and every individual to meet their specific needs and desires and help them maximize their new-found freedom "off-the-pavement." TracFab is the only provider with on the move adjustable seating suspension for the ultimate in comfort, even on hard packed surfaces.
The Paramobile was originally designed for disabled golfers, but can also be customized for use in other sports and leisure activities such as fishing or archery. With its strong chassis frame, the Paramobile can cope with gradients of up to 30 degrees and sideways inclinations of about 17 degrees. The Paramobile will turn automatically into a safe position should these limits be exceeded. The design allows for an absolutely secure footing in any position. The therapeutic benefits of the golf game for physically limited players are immense. It stimulates the metabolism, stretches the muscles, reduces spasticities and enhances the mobility of their joints. The all-terrain Paramobile with its patented stand-up device combines practical know-how with innovative ideas for maximum playing fun. Its unequalled stability when the golfer is hitting the ball enables performance that is comparable to those of non-handicapped players. Thanks to this piece of equipment, wheelchair users are discovering a new and unimagined level of freedom and independence. Being able to stand up boosts self-esteem – one can finally stand up facing others at eye level – and has a therapeutic effect. It promotes circulation and digestion, stretches tendons and ligaments, reduces spasticity and prevents joints seizing up.
The Action Trackchair and Trackstander come equipped with power seat tilt as a standard feature, making it the ultimate in off-road wheelchairs. You will go places you didn’t think possible. With the Action Trackchair you will be able to navigate mountain roads, campgrounds, woods, beaches, hiking trails, frozen lakes, shallow streams, muddy and snowy terrain and much more. Now you have the choice to stay on hard surfaces or go off-road.
The Freedom Outdoor All-Terrain Wheelchair is environmentally friendly, safe, quiet, tough and loaded with standard features. This rugged outdoor all-terrain wheelchair is designed to take you through most terrain that a person can walk on such as mud, sand, snow, and rocks. The chair's ability to operate seamlessly in both indoor and outdoor environments as well as fit though most standard sized doors, means the user can rely on one solution for mobility needs.
The X8 Extreme is the next generation 4x4 power chair that includes a 12" seat elevator, 50° tilt-in-space, non-shearing recline, and single piece power elevating leg rest. This is the lightest power seating system available on the market.
Zoom is a lightweight electric all-terrain mobility device for recreational use. It has a permanent symmetrical 4-wheel drive designed for use in rough terrain. The patented frame design ensures that all four wheels stay in contact with the ground regardless of the type of surface. Zoom has a maximum speed of 12.6 mph and is suitable for use on or off-road. At only 220 pounds, the Zoom is easy to transport and maneuver. Zoom easily traverses sidewalks, sand, snow and rocky or uneven terrain. Our motto is A FREE MIND IN MOTION!
These wheels are awesome! SoftWheel's proprietary suspension mechanism reduces painful frame vibration by more than 70% compared to standard rigid wheels...even returning energy back to the user. Available in 24" and 25," suspension compression is customized to each rider's weight. If you receive an all-terrain chair through The Independence Fund, and regularly use a manual wheelchair, you may be eligible to also receive a set of SoftWheels. Please work with your Independence Fund representative to inquire.
Catrike’s 16 years of engineering and experience have come together to create the Dumont. The rear suspension features a highly progressive travel path combined with a custom spring rate and sophisticated damping for a perfect balance of performance and comfort. The shock is actuated via a CNC machined swingarm pivoting on precision cartridge bearings to allow the suspension system to operate with seamless efficiency. Up front, the Dumont employs Catrike’s anti-dive patent-pending front suspension spindle to take the edge off while allowing all wheels to move independently. The result is that the Dumont stays firmly planted on the ground with the active suspension. The long and low rider position and fully adjustable boom provide stable weight distribution needed for maximum performance while the ergonomic backrest is fully adjustable for the perfect fit. A 26-inch rear wheel and folding feature, round out the Dumont to provide the ultimate ride.
The 700 is designed to be fast and efficient. A low, aerodynamic body position and lightweight vertebrae-spaceframe put the rider it the perfect position to generate power and speed. The 700c Thru-Axle rear wheel offers excellent power transfer, and high gearing gives you the shifting options needed to reach your personal best. The central Catrike adjustable boom and one-piece frame display the same single-minded focus that drives the model of one of the fastest vehicles in any category. Simple and thoughtfully designed, 700 is engineered to move.
At the heart of the Trail, there are features and design that makes this Catrike perfect for almost any rider. It is well designed and is thoughtfully equipped with top tier components to deliver worry-free performance. For comfort and portability, the Trail features a well-padded seat mounted to a fully adjustable, foldable frame. The Catrike proprietary hand rests offer adjustable support for long rides while the integrated computer mount and stock rear view mirror ensure you have all the information to be safe and efficient while riding. All these features combine to provide unbeatable performance at an unbeatable price.
The sense of freedom that comes with taking the path less traveled can be yours with just a pedal stroke. Exploring hidden roads and seeing nature sliding past in near silence is an experience only rolling through the country on a Catrike can provide. The Expedition offers a beautiful and sleek machine combined with a long, comfortable body position for all-day riding. To be prepared for any adventure, the Expedition comes equipped with a space frame for heavy packs. The 26-inch rear wheel provides a broad range of gears for a variety of terrain. There are so many roads to explore that you may never see them all, but it won’t be for lack of trying.
Classic comfort combined with long distance performance, the 5.5.9 is the best of both worlds. Combining the adjustable backrest and padded seat mesh of our Road and Trail models with the long-distance capability of our Expedition, Catrike has created one of the most capable and comfortable trikes available. The ingenious design of the Catrike’s folding frame with roller wheels allows you to load it in just about any vehicle. Find enjoyment in the journey with the 5.5.9.
The Villager brings together engineering and innovation into one easy to use machine. A high seat and stable platform mated to an adjustable frame provide a comfortable and confident ride. Avid disc brakes offer best in class stopping power and Ackerman steering geometry – a standard design feature on all Catrike models – keep course corrections smooth and stable. The Villager is ideal for adventures in your neighborhood and beyond.
The Pocket is a compact space frame that offers all the features of our Expedition and 700 models. It is easy to maneuver while being manageable to transport with a smaller width and footprint creates a very efficient spirited ride. And like all other Catrikes, it comes equipped with a chainguard for safety along with a flag and flag holder for increased visibility. The Pocket gives you all the performance of a Catrike in a scaled down package. The perfect ride for smaller riders.
Ti-Trikes, available as the T-250 with power assist, or the T-150 manual, is the only trike manufactured specifically to allow it to be an electric assist trike. The perfect ride for around town or longer road and trail rides. The T-250 gives a little power as needed to keep up with other riders, or to make it up the hills. Manufactured in Connecticut using strong, lightweight titanium tubing, the industry’s benchmark for comfort, performance and durability. The trike’s turning circle is tight, making it easy to turn and maneuver on roads and paths. The handling of our trikes, with totally adjustable and ergonomically correct handlebars, to its race car steering dampening system, makes it the most responsive and gives it the best steering in the industry. Our pressure foam two-piece seating system provides a high level of comfort and custom positioning. Great features, include a crisp-shifting 20 speed Shimano drive train, mounted on a 500-watt electric motor driven by a 36 volt 14.5 Ah battery (T-250), a FSA Patterson Transmission, an adjustable front boom (for leg length sizing), lightweight but sturdy aluminum rims, and quiet running chain idler wheels.
Ti-Trikes has developed its innovative Tadpole hand cycle, with steering from the crank or handle bars. This trike uses two steering wheels in the front and a single drive wheel in the back. The Tadpole design separates the steering system from the drive or propulsion system, so that power to the hand cranks doesn’t affect steering and steering doesn’t affect power. The net result: improved hand cycle stability and better overall control, creating a major performance gain for any hand cycle rider. Like its stable mates, it uses the same titanium frame, high end components including brakes, drive train, steering damper and seating, resulting in a comfortable, lively ride that delivers top performance. The adjustable two piece NASA foam seat set at 18” height is set up to allow the rider to side transfer. The Power Assist model uses the same electric motor and battery as our T-250 Power Assist model.
Experience the freedom of a trike that is at home, OFF ROAD, on the trails, in the fields, hunting and fishing, or just riding the roads and bike paths with your kids or friends. A high torque, quick motor that has a range of at least 30 miles on a charge, can climb most hills where most mountain bikers would be walking. Trail and road legal, it will get you there and back, weighing in at only 65 pounds fully loaded.
Recreational cycling offers great positive benefits to body and mind. The Greenspeed Magnum is a folding recumbent trike can be fitted with an assortment of adaptive pieces, or ridden as is. If pedaling by hand is for you, then the Force 3 handcycle from Top End is the perfect choice. Enjoy rides by yourself, or join family and friends for cycling adventures!
This hand powered cycle is perfect for beginners or competitive racers.
This trike is fit for two riders and can be utilized by anyone with adaptive needs.
Even more awesome with SoftWheels! Our US designed, patented, and produced lever drive GRIT Freedom Forward Chair is easier to push than a standard chair and is way more powerful. "The Levers" to give you the benefits of shifting gears on a bike allowing the user to cruise faster than walking speed on smooth ground and also gives the power to climb over hills and roll through grass, dirt, and sand. And now its available with SoftWheels too...diminishing vibration by up to 70%.
It brings tears to my eyes, to think of how this has changed my Life. I can now do things outdoors with my Wife and Friends. I have been to Parks, Hiking Trails and all around my Neighborhood. We have lots of plans for Fun and Adventure starting this Summer. We love to Camp and Fish and that is on our agenda. GOD Bless all of you at the Independence Fund, my Wife and I are forever grateful for what you do. I will always carry the torch for all of you!
This chair has given Kyle his freedom back! He sprays our landscaping for weeds, we can go for walks in the woods, and he can go hunting again. It truly is such a blessing to have organizations like The Independence Fund looking after our wounded veterans. One of the best moments is when all three of us were able to go for a walk in the woods, with my husband carrying our baby boy on his chest.