HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah — The two sons of a master sergeant stationed at Hill Air Force Base can now go on more adventures with their family thanks to a new special needs assistance grant.
Master Sgt. Jared Graham and Laura Graham have two 16-year-old sons who are both blind and have cerebral palsy.
Landon, also known as "Dino," also has epilepsy, and his brother Tyson has hearing loss, an article from HAFB said.
“These disabilities do not define them,” Master Sgt. Graham said. “They have surpassed doctors’ expectations and live life to the fullest. They never complain about their daily challenges, they overcome them.”
The Grahams were already looking at all-terrain wheelchairs when Hill’s Airman and Family Readiness Center informed them of a new special needs grant offered by the Air Force Aid Society.
The $3,000 grant is intended to make assistive devices, technology and services more accessible.
Alysse Seligman, an Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP ) specialist, said the grant helps families to receive funding for things not covered by their military-issued health care coverage.
“We have already helped eight families receive funding. From shoes and insoles, to all-terrain vehicles, to communication devices, this grant helps improve Team Hill’s Exceptional Family Members lives in so many ways," Seligman said.
The family said the grant was easy to apply for, and they were approved in just a couple of days.
The all-terrain wheelchairs — called the Emma X3 — were even made locally by Utah company Extreme Motus. They are foldable and can fit easily in the back of a truck or minivan, the story said.
“Having these all-terrain wheelchairs has been a game changer,” Master Sgt. Graham said. “We have been able to take the boys to places we had dreamed of taking them, such as hiking in the mountains and the trilobite fossil quarry in Delta. We plan to also take them to the ice castles in Midway this winter, a place that is not built for regular wheelchairs.”
Graham has been in the Air Force for 19 years and stationed at Hill for 16 of those years. He said the Air Force and the EFMP program has been a “huge blessing” through the years.
“We have been able to get the resources that we have needed for our boys throughout the years,” he said. “We are boldly going where no wheelchair has gone before.”