After a series of failed attempts to obtain a handicapped accessible vehicle, the Caine family received a surprise from Veterans United Foundation.
COLUMBIA, Mo – “Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never – in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in.” In 1941, Winston Churchill delivered one of the best commencement speeches of our time. Although Churchill spoke more than seventy years ago, the message echoes in our minds today when hard times surround us. “Never give up,” is repeated throughout our lifetime – from our first tee ball game, to the grueling process of job searching, to finding out your family vehicle can no longer sustain your daughter who has cerebral palsy and an upgrade is inescapable.
When Jennifer and Greg Caine lost a contest to win a handicap accessible van for their 11-year-old daughter, Kodi, they had virtually extinguished all hope of finding a suitable vehicle for their family. Kodi, a smiling and inspirational child, has cerebral palsy – a disorder of movement, muscle tone or posture that impairs a majority of her mobility. When she was only 18-months-old, doctors told the Caines that Kodi would never walk, talk or see – she is legally blind.
“Kodi’s disability has been a struggle for us in a lot of ways but a blessing to us as well. It is at the center of every decision we make,” Jennifer Caine said; from buying a house, to planning a vacation, and lastly, to upgrading their long-standing van.
“Right now, we are manually lifting Kodi in and out of the van. She’s getting very long and we’re running into problems,” explained Jennifer. A new, modified van would fix this. They had entered a contest and lost, debated with several dealerships, attempted fundraisers, and still did not have a concrete solution. The thought of giving up had crossed the minds of both parents. Fortunately, they didn’t have to.
“The contest was over, and I knew we hadn’t won. I was astonished when Lindsey [from Veterans United Foundation] called,” Jennifer said. “It was something we didn’t think was going to happen.”
Veterans United joined forces with United Access to provide the Caines with a brand new, handicap accessible van, perfect for Kodi’s needs. The family no longer has to team up to transport Kodi to various outings or appointments. “This is going to change things tremendously because now I can just have a day with Kodi, which I’ve never been able to have before,” Jennifer explained. “This van has already allowed our lives to become easier and more carefree in the few days we have had it. Tears come to my eyes as I struggle to find the words that are strong enough to make Veterans United truly understand what your graciousness has meant to us. You have helped Kodi get one step closer to the world beyond her wheelchair, and as her mom, that is all we have ever wanted for her.”
The family of five received their van last Thursday, August 22nd. “I could not believe there were people like you who could help us that we didn’t know. I can’t even find the words to tell you that gratitude that we as parents have,” Greg told the crowd. The feeling was mutual. Dozens of Veterans United employees attended the giveaway and were moved to tears by the sincere appreciation of the Caine family.
Throughout several years, a few mishaps, and multiple attempts, the Caine family never gave up. And we’re glad they didn’t.