Original article by Leeanna Ellis Jan 2, 2018
Brad Shanahan smiles as he enters his new van, donated by Mobility for Humanity, Shanahan, a Blair native, was paralyzed in an accident on March 28th, 2016.
Brad Shanahan smiled as he looked over the white 2007 Dodge Caravan parked in front of his apartment in Blair.
"Unbelievable," he said.
To most, the van would appear to be just another used vehicle. To Shanahan, from his wheelchair, the van is the freedom and mobility that, until Wednesday, he didn't have.
Shanahan, 60, was injured on March 28th, 2016, when he fell approximately 12 feet down the stairs in his La Quinta Apartments unit. He broke the seventh and eighth thoracic vertebrae in his spine, leaving him paralyzed from the belly button down.
Shanahan spent six weeks at Nebraska Medicine before he was transferred to QLI, a rehabilitation facility near 72nd and Sorensen Parkway in Omaha. He was there for more than a year.
On June 14th, Shanahan returned to Blair, moving into a unit at Parkview Manor Apartments, 758 S. 16th St.
While the Blair native was glad to return to his hometown, he rarely left his apartment for anything other than medical appointments.
"It's challenging," he said.
If family or friends wanted to take Shanahan somewhere, he had to move from his motorized wheelchair to a manual wheelchair. A slide board was placed under Shanahan's legs as he pushed himself into the seat of the car. Once at their destination, Shanahan was dependent on someone to push him around in the wheelchair.
But now, Shanahan has the freedom to come and go thanks to the donation of a van from Mobility For Humanity, a nonprofit that provides transportation for individuals with disabilities in need.
The nonprofit was started by Mark Zach, who previously owned Mobility Motoring, a dealership that specialized in vehicles for those with disabilities. He often encountered people in need who couldn't afford the costs.