LaPorte Lions organize installation of wheelchair lift for local man

Lions Paul Marsh (left) and John Straub are pictured with the lift the LaPorte Lions installed for a man with Huntington’s disease.

Story and photo provided by LaPorte Lions

A chance meeting this spring between two former classmates has led to a life-changing difference in the situation of one of them.

John Straub, a member of LaPorte Lions Club, met a man he went to school with years ago, at LaPorte Hospital. His classmate has Huntington’s disease, and to preserve his and his wife’s privacy, they will be referred to as “Jack” and “Jill” in this article.

Huntington’s is a fatal genetic disorder that causes breakdown of nerve cells in the brain. It deteriorates a person’s physical and mental abilities and there is no cure.

Jill told Straub that she had to depend on others to help her get Jack out of the house for doctor’s appointments. There are three concrete steps from their kitchen to an enclosed back porch, and three steps at the front. She could not get Jack’s wheelchair down the steps alone.

Straub knew of a lift that had been installed at a rental apartment for a veteran, who had since moved. He contacted the landlord, who said if someone else needed it, Straub could take it.

Straub brought the project to LaPorte Lions, who approved paying for a contractor to move the lift, build a platform at Jack and Jill’s back door, and install the lift there. John Lingle, of Lingle and Sons, Contractors, was hired to do the job.

“He was wonderful,” Jill said. “He had to take the lift apart to get it into the porch, and when it wouldn’t work, he knew what the problem was, but couldn’t get a needed part.”

That’s where Doug Moore, of Scooter Warehouse in South Bend, came in. He brought the part and got the lift operating. He was president of the South Bend Lions Club, and he never sent LaPorte Lions a bill for his services.

“It just seemed like the right thing to do,” he said..

“We were happy to help,” said a representative of Lingle and Sons.

The project epitomizes the Lions’ motto, “We Serve.”

“It’s so much safer,” Jill said. “If we’d had a fire, I couldn’t have got Jack out of the house. Now, I don’t have to depend on having someone else help me get him outside.”

It turns out that Jill knows Straub’s wife, Linda, and  past president of LaPorte Lions, Paul Marsh’s wife, Gail, from when she worked at the VNA.

“I’m just so grateful to LaPorte Lions,” Jill said.”This has changed our lives.”

2 Responses to “LaPorte Lions organize installation of wheelchair lift for local man”

  1. Walter Brath

    Jul 24. 2018

    Paul,
    Great job as usual. So nice to see that someone was helped that needed it. You’re a great servant.

    Wally brath

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  2. Dr. Alva R. Miller

    Jul 24. 2018

    This is typical of the humanitarianism exhibited by Lions everywhere. Back in the forties, my father, Elden D. Miller, was president of the LaPorte Lions Club, and when I was practicing in Rensselaer I was secretary and zone chairman of their club. We were very altruistic and always looking for ways to help the needy. I was in a body cast for three months, and the Lions came to my house and built a ramp to our patio so my wife could wheel me outside. This is representative of all Lions.

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