The gift of mobility

New wheels — Joel Billman, partially paralyzed in a fall in 2013, tried out his new handcycle this week, which was purchased with funds from the Healdsburg Firefighters Association. It was the Healdsburg Fire Department that responded when Billman fell and damaged his spine while hiking a steep area of Fitch Mountain in October 2013, and members of the department have stayed in touch during Billman’s rehabilitation. Billman’s friend, Gail Jonas, contacted Interim Fire Chief Jason Boaz and told him about Billman’s need for independent transportation and when Boaz told the association, the group voted to expend the funds. Fire Engineer Justin Potter went with Billman to Berkeley to test ride adaptive cycles and helped outfit the $3,000 machine, which can be modified as Billman uses it and grows stronger. Pictured above (l-r): Jason Boaz, Justin Potter, Mack Montanye, Brian Crabb, Mike Price, Blake Ratto, Gail Jonas. Front: Joel Billman. Below: Potter affixes a “Healdsburg Fire Dept” sticker to Billman’s cycle.

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