DODGE CITY — People take the simple act of walking for granted every day. But for some, getting from place to place can be a challenge. For Hope Gerstberger, who has movement issues, her life just got a lot better thanks to the generosity of a local funeral home.
Ziegler Funeral Chapel sponsored a 1420XL Amtryke, made available through the local AMBUCS organization that works with handicapped children, and presented it to her, free of charge. The Amtryke was given to in a special ceremony at the funeral home.
"We were glad to help," said Phillip Ziegler of Ziegler Funeral Chapel. "Hope had a big smile on her face and that was pretty good."
A free helmet was also included in the presentation, said Merle Kaufman, president of AMBUCS that makes the Amtryke available,
An Amtryke is a specialized tricycle pedal machine that has many features to help people with movement issues have an efficient mode of transportation.
Ziegler said Gerstberger had wanted an Amtryke but they are expensive. Amtrykes can run from $600 and up to $1,000 and even go higher depending on the equipment configuration. They are currently trying to get hooked up with a bike maker in the United States and if they can make that connection, the price should come down, Kaufman said.
Kaufman said when they found out that Gerstberger needed an Amtryke, he called Ziegler, who is a former AMBUCS member and friend of Kaufman, and asked him if he would help cover the cost of the Amtryke. Ziegler immediately agreed.
Since the cost is a factor, AMBUCS contacts businesses and organizations to help cover the cost of the units so they will be available for children in need.
While Gerstberger needed the Amtryke, she didn't want it to stand out but look as much like a regular bike as possible. With the number of options available, that was what she got.
When the Amtryke was delivered to the funeral home before the presentation, a couple of the employees tried it out and discovered it was easy to operate and could really move. And that is why they are so good for the children. They are easy to operate and can be designed with foot pedals only or can also have hand pedal assistance if leg only operation is an issue.
To help cover some of the costs of Amtrykes, AMBUCS holds fund raisers including a golf tournament during Dodge City Days.
Besides Amtrykes, AMBUCS provides handicapped ramps and also provides scholarships for therapists that work in a variety of physical therapy areas. Therapists, including some of the therapists that benefit from AMBUCS scholarships, refer children that need an Amtryke to AMBUCS, Kaufman said.
The AMBUCS meet every Monday at the Dodge House. There are 40 members and visitors are always welcome to come to the meetings. There is a guest speaker at the meetings.
The AMBUCS also provide playground equipment for handicapped children. At 10 a.m. on Tuesday, June 18, in AMBUCS park across from the Senior Citizens South, AMBUCS will dedicate handicapped playground equipment. The public is invited to attend, and there will be refreshments for the first 100 visitors.