Van equipped for wheelchair access gifted to father

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SALT LAKE CITY -- A single father received a surprise gift from a car dealership Monday that he expects will help him be more independent.

Ray Jewkes, father of five and in a wheelchair, was presented with a brand new van from Low Book Sales. The van is equipped with a motorized lift for his wheelchair, rather than a manual ramp. Jewkes was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy when he was 2 years old, and by the time he was 21, he was reliant on a wheelchair.

Jewkes says the motorized lift will be safer than the manual ramp he's been using and he can use the lift himself. He says that the van will make it easier on the people who have been helping him with his daily needs, namely his children and aging parents.

"It brings more safety. We've been going up a manual ramp. I could fall off of it, or something, or hurt someone who's helping me," Jewkes said.

His daughter, Dania, is excited for the van and the extra mobility it will provide the family.

"I love taking my dad places," she said. "We go to the movies (but) lifting that thing up and down is hard. We're really close and we have a really good family. My dad has been great and he deserves this."

His 92-year-old father said that it couldn't have come at a better time, as his shoulders "don't act very good" anymore.


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Celeste Rosenlof


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