APACHE, Okla. (TNN) - A Stephens county mom raising a daughter with special needs is behind the wheel of a new wheelchair accessible van thanks to efforts by the Apache Masconic Lodge.
Nicole McGuire said this was one of the most special days of her life. She said this happening when it did was a miracle, because their current van broke down constantly, was too old to replace parts and wasn’t a reliable option for a family dependent on special transportation.
Her six-year-old daughter was born with special needs, but after suffering from ROTO virus at age two, her condition became extreme.
“Born special needs, but it lessened what she was able to do from the get and go, and now she’s 100 percent reliant on me, she can’t lift her head. She’s got the mind of a five month old,” said Nicole McGuire, the van recipient.
This surprise came at a time when they needed it the most, because her daughter's condition doesn't allow her to work, and their current van was becoming a safety issue they couldn't afford to fix.
“It would actually get my daughter stuck inside the van when we would go places, because it would stop working and she’d be stuck in her wheelchair," said McGuire.
“The baby seat for her little brother was actually strapped in with a ratchet strap in the backseat. It was totally unsafe and unreliable, so we are so happy for them,” said John Wills, with the Apache Lodge.
When Wills heard about the family, and the condition of their current van, he said that’s when they joined in the fundraising.
“We found it on Facebook, we saw they were looking for assistance on a Gofundme. We reached out to to the people and said we think we can help, and it blossomed from there,” said Wills.
McGuire said when she found out about the efforts by Apache Lodge, she couldn’t believe people she didn’t know at all were willing to do this for her family.
“It’s safe for everybody, and that’s all I wanted. It could have been lime green and I would not have cared. As long as it can get my babies from point A to point B. It’s a blessing, and I am very lucky they chose me,” said McGuire.
And out of nowhere, she said the Masons have become a huge part of her life.
“They really, really helped a lot. I’m truly blessed to even have them in our circle, let alone become some of our close friends," said McGuire.
Wills said while the Apache lodge took charge on this project, a number of other local lodges also contributed.
During this process, the Lodge was able to purchase a second van they are working to fix up now, before they can donate that to another family in need.