Americans Helping Americans® Hero of the Month is Raymond Tavita, who, after his wheelchair was stolen and his community stepped up to help him, has started his own nonprofit organization for wheelchair-bound individuals as a way to that kindness forward.
HawaiiNewsNow reported in March that Raymond was born with spina bifida, and although after surgery to correct his foot deformity he could walk short distances, he still relied on a wheelchair.
In 2017, he was shocked when someone stole his main source of mobility, but when a state representative shared his story, the public responded with more than 25 donated wheelchairs, including a couple of electric wheelchairs.
That compassion and generosity from his community was the spark for him to create a nonprofit “The Ohana (Family) You Don’t See” which collects wheelchairs that are no longer needed from the community for disabled people who can put them to good use.
Through his nonprofit, Raymond has a person who can fix those which need repairing and is securing space where the donated wheelchairs can be stored and repaired.
Raymond told us that the events of his story inspired him to want to help others in a similar situation, and feels that by repairing, cleaning, and sanitizing wheelchairs of all kinds he will make it so his “family” can be optimistic for the future.
In recognition of his selfless work on behalf of other wheelchair-bound individuals in his community, Americans Helping Americans® is recognizing Raymond as our “Hero of the Month” and providing a contribution to his newly-created nonprofit organization.