Quincy woman works to provide wheelchairs for people in need
QUINCY, Ill. (AP) — Mary Tieken's work continues, and her efforts are admittedly a genuine labor of love.
For years, Tieken has helped coordinate a local project that collects and eventually distributes specially redesigned wheelchairs to populations in need around the world.
Tieken is a co-chairman and trustee for Children's Medical Ministries, which is based in Crofton, Md.
Much of the organization's work is done in Guatemala, plus Vietnam and Romania. Children's Medical Ministries helps provide mobility to many children and adults, plus a sense of relief to those who try and provide care.
"These are the poorest of the poor," said Tieken, who will turn 87 this spring and has been involved in this specific ministry for close to 30 years.
"We have a supply right now of 80 (wheelchairs) ready to be shipped to Iowa to be refurbished," Tieken said. "The chairs are all donated from nursing homes (and similar sites). The chairs will go all over the world, mainly for children.
"We've shipped hundreds of the chairs over the years."
From Quincy, the soon-to-be-reworked wheelchairs go to Hope Haven International in Rock Valley, Iowa. Hope Haven has helped more than 130,000 people in 108 countries since it began in 1994.
The chairs from Quincy are custom-built for disabled children and adults in impoverished countries served by Children's Medical Ministries.
Other local organizations are beginning to assist the efforts of Tieken's group. One is the Golden K Kiwanis, which recently became involved by purchasing several wheelchairs that will eventually be distributed in countries where there is a great need for such items.
"These chairs are for the profoundly disabled, and are adaptable," Tieken said.
Golden K Kiwanis member Robert Garmer is happy to help.
"These will help kids in Guatemala, kids who have never walked," Garmer said. “There is no government assistance down there.”
Source: The Quincy Herald-Whig, https://bit.ly/2WhnF3O