Cassia in the News

Picture of Baptist Health & Rehab's van

Baptist Health & Rehab Residents Receive Gift of Mobility

Imagine sitting in the back of a bus alone on the way to medical appointments. Imagine having to wait several minutes for the bus to warm up in the middle of chilly North Dakota winters.

Imagine having to park down the street from your destination and have to wheel all the way to your appointment. Sometimes traffic, inclement weather and/or on snowy, slushy or slick surfaces made this trek even more precarious.

This was the reality for Baptist Health & Rehabilitation residents in Bismarck, ND.

Then, donors raised $75,000 to purchase a wheelchair-accessible van.

Now, Baptist Health & Rehab residents can ride in comfort to appointments. They no longer have to feel alone because they are closer to the driver and the van can accommodate up to two wheelchairs. Perhaps best of all, the driver can park in closer to the destination and better assist residents to appointments.

“The residents really enjoy the personal aspect of it. They’re sitting up close to the driver,” says Shelle Aberle, the marketing director at the community. “The van is warm when they get in; they don’t have to wait so long; it just feels more like at home.”

Baptist Health & Rehab had a true need for a new van and donors came through in a truly impactful way.

Shelle says raising the funds took longer than a year. Many people donated along the way.

The community’s Christmas appeal provided a push to raise the final $25,000 at the end of 2023. In fact, donors gave more than needed for the van, so additional funds will go toward the next need.

Residents and their families gave generously. For example, Allegra Boeckle donated $10,000 and her son, Travis, made an additional donation.

Mayo Pharmacy donated an additional $5,000. Several board members also stepped up with donations. Everyone who gave $1,000 or more had the opportunity to have their name on a leaf on the donor wall at the community.

Under the Christmas tree in the lobby sat a large box. Inside was a sign that said “COMING SOON TO A ROAD NEAR YOU!” with a picture of a van. On Dec. 22, Administrator Deanna Berg and Chaplain Merle Hoots unwrapped the box. Then, Santa rolled into the parking lot in the van, honking the horn.

With temperatures in the 50s, residents had the opportunity to go outside to get a closer look and touch the van. Chaplain Merle Hoots prayed for it and all who use it.

“Gracious God, we thank you for this wonderful gift you have given to us as a home,” Merle prayed. “We thank you for each of those who donated funds to make this possible. As we use this van, we ask that you keep us safe. Keep the residents safe as we go from appointment to appointment with this vehicle.

“Bless those who drive it and watch over them,” Merle continued. “Grant them wisdom each and every day we use it. So, we commit this van now unto You for Your use at Baptist Health & Rehab.”

So many people contributed to the cause and we are thankful for all of them.

“It was nice to see all these people come together at different levels,” Shelle says. “Every dollar and donation matters. Some people might think they don’t have enough. Give what you can and every gift makes a huge difference in the outcome.”