In March, Roy Feragen, an 85-year-old Navy Veteran of Taylorsville, pulled up to a Savers in his wheelchair, parked in front of the store and went inside to do some shopping; he was in the store only a few minutes.
When Feragen returned, his wheelchair was gone.
The Veteran can walk but his mobility is severely limited. He can be mobile for minutes at a time, but then tires and must sit down. The wheelchair was his lifeline to the outside world.
UPD (Unified Police Department) Officer Mikal Wesland responded to the call and took the report and then gave Feragen a ride home.
Once there, the two went into Feragen’s home where he showed Wersland the charger to his stolen wheelchair. It was still plugged into the wall
“I cannot imagine why they would take it when the charger is right here.” Feragen said.
Wersland, feeling horrible, reached out to Taylorsville Precinct Chief Tracy Wyant to see what could be done.
Immediately, Wyant sent out texts to Officers and City Elected Officials asking if anyone had access to a wheelchair, preferably electric, Mr. Feragen could use, at least on a temporary basis.
Unified Police and City Officials knew something had to happen quickly. Being nearly $2000, Feragen would not be able to afford a new chair anytime soon, and without one, his daily activities would screech to a halt.
Wyant also approached Tiffany Janzen, Public Information Officer of Taylorsville and Public Information Officer, Justin Hoyal, and asked them to reach out on Social Media and see what happens.
Janzen made sure the ball a collective effort got rolling, kept on doing so.
Janzen contacted Overstock.com and word of the story quickly reached the ears of Stormy Simon, President of Overstock.
The following day the online retailer said they would love to Donate a new wheelchair to Roy and that they were working with Drive Medical to get it shipped out as soon as possible.
They managed to get the wheelchair shipped out on a Friday. It arrived at the Police Precinct the following Monday where it was pieced together, and then the fun began.
On Tuesday, Janzen, along with Chief Wyant and Hoyle and others, invited the media to City Hall where they surprised the disabled Veteran with a brand new wheelchair.
Responding to one of Janzen’s messages, Stormy Simon thanked Janzen by saying, “Thank you for allowing us to be part of a hero’s life.”
Anyone with information about the missing wheelchair can call Unified police at 801-743-7000.