The Times West Virginian

Local News

April 9, 2014

Access WV provides free help to those in need

FAIRMONT — There’s a new organization that’s here to assist those in need.

Accessible West Virginia Association has been working hard over the last few months in Marion County in assisting residents with certain tasks.

Access WV is a nonprofit, charitable association. President and chief executive director Robert Bohigian said the association provides accessibility modifications and services.

Bohigian said the services and modifications are for individuals who are over the age of 55, disabled or a military veteran in the county.

With the winter storms that have impacted the area this past year, Bohigian said the association has been doing a lot of storm relief since it began operation in February.

“We’ve shoveled wheelchair ramps, outside walks, fixed frozen pipes and removed icicles,” Bohigian said.

Laura Baker, client service director, said the association isn’t open for summer repairs and services until May 15. She said summer tasks include building wheelchair ramps, making homes more accessible and installing shower bars.

“General things like that,” Baker said. “Things that make homes more accessible for handicap issues.”

Other summer tasks include performing labor work such as mowing lawns.

Since they have been offering services, Bohigian said the association has helped 213 individuals in Marion County. He said some clients are surprised that they don’t have to pay for the service.

“Others have made voluntary donations,” Bohigian said. “They are very appreciative.”

Baker said there are clients on the waiting list. She said when funding or materials needed becomes available, they’re able to help those patiently waiting.

“We have a list from about 30-50 people that are on our waiting list,” Baker said.

Because they are a young organization in the area, Baker said funding is needed. She said the reason the association was started in Marion County was because of the need for an organization such as Access WV.

Baker said the association is raising funding by selling raffle tickets for a 2011 Harley Davidson motorcycle, which is located at Anthony Chevrolet. Tickets are $20 each or six for $100.

Tickets may be purchased at Anthony Chevrolet or online at www.access-wv.org. The drawing will be on April 30 at Anthony Chevrolet.

“There are many people who qualify for other services because they are income-qualified, but there are many people in this county who fall through the cracks,” Baker said.

Bohigian said West Virginia has the largest increasing senior citizen population. He said the state has 128,000 disabled and combat service veterans.

Baker said the majority of Access WV’s board members are either disabled, veterans or both. She said there are spaces open for the association’s executive and advisory boards.

“Anyone can be a member,” Baker said.

The next meeting for Access WV is today at 3 p.m. at the Marion County Visitors Center and is open to the public. The association meets every second Wednesday of the month at the same time.

To donate or sign up for services, visit www.access-wv.org.

Email Emily Gallagher at egallagher@timeswv.com or follow her on Twitter @EGallagherTWV.

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