In October, 2018, ROC Wheels partnered with the Uganda Orphans Fund to deliver 207 wheelchairs to children and adults in Uganda. The ROC Team worked side-by-side with nine local physiotherapists, to customize each wheelchair and provide therapeutic support for each wheelchair recipient. The ROC Team left behind a number of wheelchairs and 2 tool kits to equip workshops locally. It is inspiring to see how the Uganda trip has become a living project. Those that learned from the ROC Team were able to extend that knowledge to other members of the community. Byonanebye Isaac, one of the local physiotherapists took the lead. Isaac has kept the vitality of this project going by developing individual treatment goals for each child he worked with. He fits and delivers new wheelchairs and teaches mothers of disabled children to construct standing frames and parallel bars from local materials that aid the mobility of their children. We are so excited to see how the local community has continued to care for their neighbors with disability.
For the last 11 years, Youth ROC has partnered with Koenes Ministries to complete a wheelchair distribution in Mexico. This year, a team including 14 youth traveled to Mexico for spring break to distribute wheelchairs over five days in four different locations: Guaymas, Los Mochis, Angostura, and Guasave. The team partnered with a physical therapist to fit children to 111 wheelchairs, the most that has been completed on our Mexico distributions. This efficiency was made possible through incredible team work. Team members worked together seamlessly, capitalizing on each member’s strengths, and were willing to work outside their comfort zone to accomplish necessary tasks. Our Youth ROC distribution provides adolescents the opportunity to build skills, solve problems in real time and work collaboratively with a team. Our next Youth ROC distribution is scheduled for spring break of 2020.
We are excited to annouce that ROC Wheels Inc was selected for the 2018 Bozeman Award in the Non-Profit Organization category by the Bozeman Award Program.
Each year, the Bozeman Award Program identifies companies that they believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. Bozeman is home to exceptional companies that help make the area a great place to live, work and play. What a blessing that ROC Wheels Inc, received such an honor, thank you Bozeman!
About Bozeman Award Program
The Bozeman Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Bozeman area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.
The Bozeman Award Program was established to recognize the best of local businesses in our community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to recognize the small business community's contributions to the U.S. economy.
SOURCE: Bozeman Award Program
Bozeman Award Program
Never in a million years did I expect the life lessons I learned on my trip to Nepal this past April. I had spent the previous months working with ROC Wheels and the Center for Disabled Children’s Assistance (CDCA) in Nepal to provide their kids with 8 wheelchairs. The barriers at times seemed insurmountable, but I just kept putting one foot in front of the other with the hope that in end, everything would come together. I kept envisioning the children’s faces as they received their new wheelchairs as the fuel to keep driving forward. However, once I arrived at the CDCA in Nepal, wheelchairs in tow, I realized how life changing this would be not just for the kids, but their parents. I was watching the face of Bishnu Maya Neu Pane’s mother, when I realized how difficult life had been for her and her daughter. Bishnu has cerebral palsy and for years her mother has carried her on her back. She had nowhere safe to put her beautiful child down, so she just carried her on her back. Day in and day out Bishnu went everywhere with her Mom. As Bishnu began getting fitted for her new wheelchair, I couldn’t help but notice the pure joy and happiness that her mother was experiencing. She now had a safe clean place to put her daughter down and one that would help with her condition. As a parent myself, I could not only see her happiness, but I could feel the joy she was experiencing. Witnessing this joy in its purest form made me realize that I had never considered what this would mean to the parents. These parents have been caring for their disabled children without all the basic necessities that we take for granted here in the states. I couldn’t imagine how helpless the parents must feel in taking care their disabled child in a developing country, not being able to provide the mobility that would make everyone’s lives better. During this small delivery of 8 wheelchairs, I got the simple satisfaction of helping these amazing parents meet a very basic need for their beautiful children, mobility.
‘I couldn’t help but notice the pure joy and happiness that her mother was experiencing’
This work is only possible because of you. Please make a gift today, because so many other children like Bishnu depend on you. With your help, their wishes can come true.
Hi ROC Family as you may have seen on our Facebook page our Bozeman-Uganda distribution team was wheels up in travel mode and then hit the ground running from the moment they arrived. Meeting up with the rest of the international team that is there with them, the energy was high and the excitement insurmountable. While the staff back in the office doesn’t have many details regarding live updates, we can assure you all, there are amazing things happening there. We’re very happy to say our team has been sending us photos from their experiences. We ask that you continue to life them up in prayers and thoughts. Here are some of the moments captured so far!
KIFAS, a Turkish wheel chair manufacturer would love to have the opportunity to build and deliver ROCKIT Chairs in Turkey. A team of mechanical engineering students from the University of Wisconsin will be helping KIFAS develop their manufacturing operation. ROC Wheels is sending them the documentation and a ROCKIT Chair to help them develop a ROCKIT Chair and that is suited specifically for production in Turkey. We are excited that children with severe disabilities will be able to receive the gift of mobility in Turkey.
Because of the amazing people in our ROC Idea Center, we’re capable of doing so much, by your prayer support, financial support, and volunteer support, we can continue to reach out and care!
When is a 4 x 4 not a 4 x 4?
This summer the Gallatin Valley Re-Entry team members took on the project of building a workbench for the new shop. The goal was to build a bench strong enough to support a tool board and a large vise.
The build began with the construction of corner legs using 4 x 4s. This required multiple cuts in the wood such that the front and side 2 x 6s would be flush all around the top surface and bottom shelf. Jacob and Dan cut one set of legs while Cole cut the other set. A lot of fine cutting was required to for the boards to fit in the recess.
As the final leg was being cut, an emotional cry was shouted “I cut the wrong side!!!!”, and indeed, an incorrect cut was made that rendered the fourth leg unusable. “Now what do we do??” One thing that the members never allowed was panic to set in, it was never even considered. Options, have always been and always will be considered by the Re Entry team.
Discussions immediately ensued and it was decided that the team would “make” a 4 x 4. The team made a “sandwich” of thicknesses to comprise the new leg. Leading the way, Dan, helped to guide the way and soon the 4th leg emerged as strong and as sold as the other three legs. The framing continued and the base was completed. Comments such as “wow, that is neat”, “that will hold a ton of weight”, all the way too “now I know how to make a bench for my shop” were all echoed by the team.
If you love hearing about the every day engineering that we are doing in our ROCKIT shop, be sure to follow us as we post a new story every Friday! Also go find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as we are going to be communicating new and exciting stories through there every week as well!
Gallatin Valley Rodeo Bible Camp (GVRBC) participated with the YEWTHS ROC Program in the summer of 2017. GVRBC sponsored and build three ROCKIT Chairs in total. The director of the camp, Clark Mueller, expressed excitement when he saw the impact this program had on his rodeo youth. Gallatin Valley Rodeo Bible Camp signed up to participate with the YEWTHS ROC Program again this year in July of 2018. We’re look forward to the possibility of many more years of partnership with GVRBC.
We are excited to announce that the shipping container with over 200 Wheelchairs has arrived in Uganda and has cleared customs! Nine people from the ROC Wheels Team will be flying out on October 10th . The Team consists of Wayne and Lee Ann Hanson, Martin Haas, Nick and Dominic Palmer, Kara and Maya Wieberg, Paul Nokes and Kathryn Piller. Thanks to the help of our partner Uganda Orphan’s Fund, and numerous other generous people in Uganda, the container is scheduled to be unloaded shortly. The Team will deliver and fit wheelchairs at 3 different sites over a 3 week period.
The ICU2 Head Support
The ROC Idea Center is a place where ideas can become reality. The ROC Idea Center designs and delivers products that mobilize children and adults with disabilities in less resourced countries.
The ICU2 Head support system is a product in the works that will enable the child to look their friends and family in the eye. Children with disabilities often do not have the ability to sit proudly without support or lift their head to see the world in front of them.
Emmett Smith, a brilliant 13-year-old young man, is working with Wayne Hanson and the rest of the ROC engineering team to do research, test materials, design and build the first prototypes. The product development process is a long and arduous one but well worth it when it makes it possible to deliver these products to children worldwide. Our goal in the ROC Idea Center is to present the first production quality prototype to world renown therapists and professionals at the International Seating Symposium in March of 2019.
By: Kathryn Piller
Wow, We Did It!
The big moment the team had been working to achieve occurred when the final three sections of the wheelchair were completed on Saturday a few weeks ago. During previous weeks, the team put together the individual subassemblies of the wheelchair.
Anticipation was high as the team knew that today the results of their previous efforts would culminate in a completed wheelchair. Mike, Dan, Scott, and Cole worked vigorously to place all the components into the right places. The team searched for and found all the matching materials needed for the project. Some disassembly was required but as with most challenges in life, the team discussed the options, then made a decision and moved forward to a successful solution.
Scott and mentor Paul made final adjustments to the axles and installed the wheels. Mike put the completed chair through all the appropriate adjustments and the designed positions. Smiles resonated on team members faces! Mike was heard saying “Wow, we did it, and everything works!!” The men told the photographer, Kathryn, they were happy to know their work would make a child happy and that their achievements were appreciated.
The completed chair is an outstanding example of the valued partnership the Re-Entry team provides to ROC Wheels. Gallatin Valley Re-Entry Team Reaches Milestones.
- By Melissa Loveridge Chronicle Staff Writer
Delivering wheelchairs to disabled kids across the country from Bozeman may sound like a pipe dream, but it’s exactly what ROC Wheels does. Now, the organization is starting a new program, ROC Warriors, a “therapeutic workshop” where combat veterans will help build and deliver wheelchairs around the world.
“We’re helping people here by helping them help others,” said ROC Wheels co-founder Wayne Hanson, who founded the company with his wife Lee Ann.
ROC Warriors is hosting a speech by combat veteran Eric Donoho on Thursday, Aug. 23. Donoho was deployed in Iraq in 2006 and was medically retired three years later. In 2018, he delivered four ROC wheelchairs to children in Nepal, and the ROC Warriors program was born.
The chairs are all designed at ROC Wheels’ headquarters at Four Corners. Many of those working in the “Rocket Shop” are part of the Gallatin County re-entry system; former inmates or those who have community service hours to fulfill. Republican Rep. Greg Gianforte even completed his community service at ROC Wheels after being charged with assaulting a reporter on the eve of his election.
The building smells like construction and paint; a small 3D printer sits upstairs for printing wheelchair parts. The wheelchairs are made from kits built by inmates at the South Dakota State Penitentiary.
“There’s no limit to what we can develop here,” Hanson said. He praised the interns hired from Montana State University’s engineering program, including ROC Wheels’ current intern Robert Knutson.
Paul Nokes, an employee at ROC Wheels, said those working on the wheelchairs in the Rocket Shop are learning how to overcome obstacles in real life.
“You’re going to run into barriers,” Nokes said. “You’ve got to learn how to climb over them.”
Hanson said since ROC Wheels started in 1999, the organization has delivered over 10,000 wheelchairs all around the world, including Mosul and East Baghdad in Iraq. Hanson said when soldiers delivered these chairs, they never drew enemy fire.
The first delivery for the ROC Warriors program is slated to happen in October 2019, possibly to Nepal.
“What we learn with pleasure we never forget”
Joy and enthusiasm filled the room with activity as the men
used their skills to build a unique wall. Using a model designed
by ROC volunteer Paul, residents from Gallatin County Re-entry
Program built a sixteen-foot-long partition, with four by eight
hinged sections, allowing the wall to collapse like an accordion.
The morning began with five men who didn’t know how or if
they could work with each other. When the task began Paul
showed the model and how the partition needed to be built so it
could divide the space into two designated work areas.
You could see the wheels turning while the older men were
teaching the younger ones how to use the tools that would lead
to success. The youngest team member discovered a time-
saving process that he shared with the others.
As the morning went on, the personalities began to emerge
and cohesive teams soon formed. The men brought unique skills
and abilities that allowed the wall to be built in just three hours.
Start to finish the work was of the highest quality. They were
proud of their completed work project.
The enthusiasm that developed by working as a team was
valuable and caused the men to ask if they return. As they said,
“this is not just community service, it is a chance to do good for
Two hundred children in Uganda will receive the gift of mobility, thanks to the work of a local nonprofit. Reach Out and Care (ROC) Wheels has partnered with the Uganda Orphans Fund to bring wheelchairs to severely disabled children.
After an extensive two-year effort that included designing, building and refurbishing wheelchairs, ROC Wheels is ready to ship its latest batch of wheelchairs to Uganda on June 11.
“These wheelchair distributions are all once-in-a-lifetime experiences,” said Wayne Hanson, co-founder of ROC Wheels. “We’re giving mobility to not only the child, but the whole family.”
ROC Wheels has been helping severely disabled children around the world since 1999. With projects in over 20 countries, and more than 10,000 wheelchairs delivered to date, ROC Wheels has changed thousands of families’ lives. Hanson is the former owner of Leggaro, another wheelchair manufacturer in Bozeman, so he is no stranger when it comes to designing wheelchairs.
All of ROC Wheels’ wheelchairs are designed to be as adjustable, durable and configurable as possible. The hope is that every child is able to use the chair for a minimum of five years, and the chair needs to be modifiable enough to adapt to a growing child in a rugged environment.
The wheelchairs include 60 of ROC Wheels’ flagship “Rockit chairs.” Designed by Hanson, the Rockit chair is constructed from a kit. This simple assembly design is integral for ROC Wheels, as it allows for volunteers to easily construct the chairs. ROC Wheels will also be using 40 of Leggaro’s “Reach” and “Trak” chairs, as well as 100 refurbished wheelchairs that have been donated.
In addition to delivering the chairs, ROC Wheels will bring a team of physical therapists, wheelchair fitters and other volunteers to assist with correctly fitting the chairs to every child.
ROC Wheels has recently moved into a new, larger location near Four Corners. The additional workspace has allowed for expanded manufacturing and the addition of two mechanical engineering interns, Robert Knutson and Karl Swenson, to aid with designing and building wheelchairs. Beyond that, ROC Wheels is hoping to grow its Youth Empowerment With The Helper Spirit (YEWTHS) ROC program.
The program is a youth outreach already present in 17 schools. It aims to engage local kids in the community, providing volunteering opportunities to help construct wheelchairs, and even trips to help distribute the wheelchairs to kids in disadvantaged countries.
“Part of our mission with ROC Wheels is to equip people locally so that we can serve people in developing countries,” said Hanson. “We’re helping people here so that they can help people there.”
We feel it is time to establish a new home, (the ROC Center) for ROC Wheels here in the Gallatin Valley. The ROC Center will be the location of the YEWTHS ROC headquarters, ROCKIT Product Development and Manufacturing (ROCKIT Shop) and the ‘ROC Idea Center’. The facility will be handicap accessible.
The Idea Center will be a place where people can work together to develop ways to serve people with disabilities and bring ideas to life through product development.
The ROCKIT Shop will be a place where people can learn manufacturing processes, develop new products and build ROCKIT Wheelchairs to serve the expanded need. Currently, inmates at South Dakota State Penitentiary manufacture completed ROCKIT Chairs and ROCKIT Kits for YEWTHS ROC. The inmates have made a heart-felt commitment to build the jigs and fixtures for the ROCKIT Project at only the cost of materials.
ROC Wheels will be partnering with the Gallatin Valley Re-entry Program in the first ROCKIT Pilot Project. Participants will be able to fulfill their community service requirements, by assembling ROCKIT Chairs. This will be a 20 hour per week program. This project will be a beneficial way to illustrate the therapeutic benefits of working with their hands and joining a team to work out solutions, guided by our Christian values. The ROCKIT Shop will be open the rest of the week for youth, college interns and volunteers.
We are inspired by the way that youth, interns, volunteers and inmates can take the initiative to reach out and help others.
To-date, we have not found the perfect location to call home. We have received seed money to help equip ROCKIT Manufacturing and to support the lease payments. We are praying for God’s provision and timing in this matter.
Thank You for your support. We wouldn’t be here without you.
“I remember this one kid we worked on named Jesús. My partner and I got his sheet and I turned around for just a minute, and when I turned back around he was already in his wheelchair, ready to go, with a big smile on his face. I just looked at my partner, wondering what had happened. My partner just looked back at me, shrugged his shoulders and smiled. Jesús was just so full of joy. He did this thing, where he would reach out for your hands, and then he would pull you in for a hug. Towards the end of his fitting, he got really mischievous. He held out his hands, like he had for the hugs. This time, when I was about to pull away, he took a big long lick, all up the side of my face. He just kept cracking up. All we could do was laugh along with him. We all quickly discovered that these wheelchairs were not just a mode of transportation, they were a way to show God’s love through action, when language is a barrier.” ~Abigail Ross
“Eliu is such a lively kid. I personally see a little bit of myself in him, in his smile, in his laughter, the way he was just so alive. To sit him in a chair was just absolutely incredible. You could tell he had so much joy and you could tell that he was going to be changed because of the chair. Not only was Eliu’s life changed, but his parents’ lives were changed as well. Now they could actually transport him around and get him to school. There was just a whole new world of possibilities for them. In the end, his world was changed, my heart was changed, and his parents’ lives were changed as well. “ ~Eric Bratke
“After going to Mexico, I have learned to not judge a book by its cover. Every person has a story. Chavez had severe scoliosis. He kept having uncontrollable seizures so we prayed over him and started looking at the wheelchair. After that he slept for a while. The atmosphere of the distributions is loud. I thought it was a miracle that he could sleep while we worked on his chair. He was so severe, so I was encouraged that we could get the chair to work for him and that we could get him comfortable. He was a lot more peaceful after we were done.” ~Porter Baldwin
When I joined the ROC Wheels team in the fall of 2016, preparations for the Rotary/ROC Wheels Argentina wheelchair distribution had been underway for over two years. My first involvement with the project was assisting Wayne with selecting the wheelchairs at the Hope Haven warehouse in Sioux Fall, South Dakota. I know they weren’t the only prayers said for this project, but we definitely needed God’s intervention to get the right mix of chairs for the kids and young adults in Argentina.
On our return to Bozeman, Wayne and I shifted our focus to getting the wheelchairs, a 20 foot shipping container, and all of the required paperwork from South Dakota to Argentina. With the excellent services of Jim Griffiths at Jimak Transport Intl. Inc., the container was routed from Sioux Falls to Minneapolis by truck, to New York City by train, then to San Antonio, Chile by ship. From there, the equally excellent services of one Jorge Vega Diaz, a customs agent and Rotarian, shepherded the container through Chilean customs, onto a truck and over the Andes into Argentina.
On March 2nd, ten people, from three US states and Ireland, converged on the EZE airport in Buenos Aires, Argentina, then flew on to Santa Rosa to start the week long distribution. Though we arrived at Santa Rosa very late that night, we were met by a throng of Rotarians - the most hospitable people you could ever hope to meet. We were warmly welcomed by all, then we left by ones and twos as we were taken to their homes for the night. Wayne and I were fortunate to be guests of Juan Pedro Torroba and his wife, Estela Werner. Juan Pedro has been the key Rotarian behind the success of this project in Argentina from its inception.
On March 3rd, we spent the day unpacking and assembling the 89 wheelchairs that had completely filled the shipping container. We also fit our first child in a wheelchair.
March 4th through 9th have somewhat run together in my memory as a joy-filled blend of meeting and working with incredibly nice people, miraculously modifying wheelchairs to help kids and young adults have more comfort and mobility, and being treated as royalty by our Rotarian hosts in Santa Rosa, General Pico, Tres Arroyas, and Mar del Plata. Of all the memories, the ones I treasure most are the smiles of the wheelchair recipients (and their families) as they set out in a properly fit wheelchair.—Martin Haas
The Need in Uganda
Over 200 Children from the Kamuli District of Uganda
This year more than 200 children in the Kamuli District of Uganda can’t go anywhere because they are in need of wheel chairs . ROC partnered with Uganda Orphans Fund to identify 205 kids who need chairs. We are in the process of raising $100,000 to meet this need with chairs customized for the needs of each child. Please join us, and help provide the gift of mobility.
The Story of Winnie
“One day I took a rather pothole-filled drive to Winnie’s house. It had recently rained, so we had to avoid getting stuck in ponds and rivers where the road was supposed to be. A local NGO had told me about Winnie. They knew her family was too poor to pay for transport, so the only way to measure her for a wheelchair was to go there myself.
Winnie was lying on a dirt floor in a mud hut with no electricity. When I approached, she politely greeted me. Although she could not sit up, she reached out a hand, and I grasped it warmly. Like many 17-year-old girls, Winnie was private. She asked that the male translator leave when I examined her for sores and deformities. Misshapen body parts definitely abounded: scoliosis, stiffened legs, a club foot. It would have been easy to be distracted by her suffering and miss her person-hood. But by God’s grace, I did not have that mindset. Instead I saw Winnie’s wide smile when I told her she was a good candidate for a wheelchair. I caught the infectious joy in her eyes after being given a first glimmer of hope.
She knows, so much more than you or I do, that a wheelchair will forever change her life. No longer will she be confined to the filthy backroom. Instead, she will be able to explore the world for herself, witness the Ugandan sky turn a rosy orange at sunset, maybe even make new friends. In a country like Uganda that provides little help for people with disabilities, a wheelchair can mean everything. It can mean education. It can mean person-hood. It can mean freedom. “
Wayne Kody Casey Josh John Robert Joseph Martin