GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - Drivers passing by Mary Free Bed Saturday morning probably noticed a 2015 Ford Taurus.
However, it’s not the make of the car that’s raising eyebrows, it’s the location.
Director of Inpatient Rehabilitation at Mary Free Bed, Steve Brodnicki explains; "Well we’re putting a car into Mary Free Bed for our patients."
That Ford Taurus was lifted, via crane, into the air and onto the 4th floor of Mary Free Bed.
"Our patients need to practice getting in and out of the car and right now the only practice they can do is outside and the elements don’t really help with that," says Brodnicki.
This car, donated by Weller Auto Parts will change that.
Patients will now be able to practice getting in and out, managing seats, adjusting the steering wheel, putting items in the trunk, and more.
"Our patients are going back home, and they gotta learn how to work back in the real world. We have a hospital setting and it’s not always what you experience back at home, so we try to bring as much of the stuff as we can from the outside world in so they can practice," says Brodnicki.
After all, practice makes perfect.
However, perfection isn’t necessarily what they're striving for here.
Brodnicki says it’s all about encouragement, showing patients that yes, they’ll need to do some things differently, but they’ve still got this; "So we have the opportunity here at Mary Free Bed to show people ideas and ways to do things a different way, and they get to experience, ‘Oh I can do this now, I can go home and I can do this.’ "
This entire project cost more than $20,000, but Mary Free Bed didn’t have to pay anything.
Many community organizations helped out including Weller Auto Parts who donated the car, and Niewiek Auto Sales who remodeled the car to make it hospital safe.
The Daniel and Pamella DeVos Foundation contributed to the project.
Ebels Construction and Arrow Crane Services are helping with the installation.
The car will be wrapped and facing a mural of downtown Grand Rapids, all donated by Midwest Sign Company.