BANGOR, Maine — Vietnam War Navy veteran Michael Wilson has been waiting for more than two years to get a power wheelchair to make getting around town easier. The current one he uses doesn't fair well on the uneven cobblestone sidewalks.
But before he could get this new and improved wheelchair suitable for the outdoors, he needed a proper place to store it.
"Storage was a concern for two reasons. With the safety of the area he's in and also the inclement weather getting on the scooter itself, and the inability to bring it into the home," Doc Goodwin, founder of Maine Veterans Project, said.
Wilson's caretaker, Jason Gomez, reached out to Goodwin to see if Maine Veterans Project could help them out in their search to have a shed built for the wheelchair.
Goodwin reached out to his friend Jacob Earl, owner of Patriot Landscaping & Construction, about helping out with the project.
"He said, 'Look Doc, sounds like a great job. We'll make time for it,' and within two weeks, they were out here building it," Goodwin said.
Earl and his crew worked every day through the frigid winter weather to finish the project.
"I don't know how they did it honestly, it was like 18 below," Gomez said.
"I always give the guys options when it's that cold, and they said, 'Nope, let's get it done.' I got a great crew behind me," Earl said.
The project was worth roughly $2,500. Goodwin said he planned to use Maine Veterans Project funds to cover the cost, but Earl and his team decided it was on the house.
"This year's been hard on a lot of people. I figure I have the means, why not do it," Earl said.
Wilson was mostly at a loss for words but made sure to continuously thank the men responsible for making this happen.
Gomez said he is hopeful the new wheelchair will arrive for Wilson within the next month or so.
Goodwin said the funds initially set aside for the shed can now be put toward the project's heating assistance program to help other veterans.