LOGAN – Chris Wilson’s younger sister Jan has had mobility issues since she was young, and he saw how she struggled as a child to get around and to play with other children her age. When he learned of the Pumper Car, and how it significantly helps children with disabilities, the Logan automobile dealer wanted to give local children opportunities his younger sister never had.
“She’s eight years younger than me and I was at that age and watched as she struggled, and she’s had some big struggles in her life with mobility and keeping up with other kids,” Wilson explained at a special presentation at the Wilson Motor Company in Logan. “It was an emotional thing. Boy, when I had an opportunity to help other kids who are in similar situations now, it was a no brainer.
“We’re in the mobility industry, we’re a family organization, so it fit well with how we want to give back to the community.”
One Pumper Car has now been donated to every elementary school in both the Cache County School District (17) and the Logan City School District (6).
Logan School District Superintendent Frank Schofield was grateful for the donation of cars to his district and said they will help students in multiple ways.
“Giving students with physical, muscular, motor control challenges the opportunity to engage in these activities, engage with their peers, is an amazing opportunity,” Schofield explained. “It’s something that helps them be more part of their peer group, more part of the activities going on at their school, as well as developing more cognitive skills.”
Wilson said the initial donation of Pumper Cars gets one to every elementary school in both the Logan and Cache County school districts, but the goal is to eventually have four for each elementary school. Superintendent Schofield said that not only provides opportunity for more students with disabilities, but also helps these children feel connected with other normal activities at school.
“They could have some of their other peers who don’t have these limitations who use them as well,” Schofield said. “I view that as strengthening the understanding that these students aren’t accessing these Pumper Cars because they have disabilities, it’s something that they and their peers can do, just one other activity that they’re able to participate in school. Granted, for them, it does give them greater access, but we want them to be able to do that with their peers, as well.”
Chad Ricks works at Wilson Motor Company and he was tasked with organizing Wilson employees to assemble the ride-on toys. He said 16 employees voluntarily stayed after hours on December 30th and formed an assembly line.
“They are $350 per Pumper Car,” Wilson explained. “At Wilson Motor, we bought enough for one for every school to get an idea about how it will work. Speaking with Superintendent Schofield and Joel Allred from the (Cache) County (School District), they indicated they’d love to have four per school. I made the commitment that we would fund raise and try and raise more money. Anything between what we raise and be able to get three more per school I’ll take care of.”
As president of the Utah Automobile Dealers of Utah, Wilson first learned of the Pumper Car at a board meeting in May. Some auto dealers in Southern Utah had donated a few of the riding toys to local schools there, and Wilson wanted to something similar in Logan. The Pumper Car was originally designed to be a child’s ride-on toy, but has been designated as a medical device by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a rehabilitation device. The cars increase strength and mobility, while also increasing confidence in children with physical and mental disabilities.
After Tuesday’s presentation, several children with disabilities got to demonstrate how the cars work on the Wilson Motor showroom floor.