PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. -- Dave and Lori Hastings are used to helping the families of children with special needs get new vans. Tuesday, they were on the receiving end, as they were awarded a brand new wheelchair accessible van.
“We are pretty excited about it. It is just one of those opportunities for us to continue doing what we do," Dave Hastings told FOX 17 News. "Kind of paves a road for us to continue to keep doing what we do at Lori’s Voice."
Hastings and his wife created the non-profit in 2012, to help families with special needs children get vans, equipment and other services that may not be covered by insurance. Lori is the organization's namesake. She was diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy at age 12, and relies on a wheelchair to get around. Dave is also facing medical challenges; he was diagnosed with Multiple Schlerosis in 2012.
The couple was nominated to win the van during a Local Heroes contest put on by the The National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association, as part of May's "National Mobility Awareness Month". Their daughter Valerie submitted the nomination, revealing that her parents lift van had been "slowly falling apart".
"The contest is kind of unique, it starts off with a voting phase and in the voting phase they go get as many people as they can to vote for them, and that creates
the awareness of the contest and people who are involved," explained Dave Hubbard, CEO of NMEDA. "Once we get the top 10% voters, then it moves to the judging phase and the top 10% entries go to, or the top 10 % votes, goes to health care professionals, then those healthcare professionals choose the winner based on their merits."
The Hastings learned they had won in June.
"When they called me and said we won, I was in disbelief, I thought it was a prank phone call," said Dave. "I felt guilty at the same time, because I knew there were so many people in need with really sad stories... We never expect a reward like this, it is all about giving and we are on the giving end. It has really humbled us."
Lori added "A friend once told me there is a lot of grace in just saying thank you, so thank you!"
Lori's Voice just held its annual Fall fundraiser last weekend, and have already begun preparations for the annual "Walk For the Challenged" at the Berlin Raceway in June.
To learn more about Lori's Voice, click here.