Colorado AgrAbility Modified Mule (Word Doc.) by 4U1mf0


									Easter Seals Colorado
5755 West Alameda Ave.
Lakewood, CO 80226

March 2, 2006
Contact: Pilar Chapa
        303 233-1666 ext. 230

 Easter Seals Colorado and the AgrAbility Project Help Farmer
          with Disability Continue to Work the Land

       Manzanola, CO — After almost two years of struggle,
Manzanola farmer Bert Nesselhuf has a new lease on life. Bert
Nesselhuf has Multiple Sclerosis but with the help of the Easter Seals
Colorado (ESC) AgrAbility Project and the Colorado Division of
Vocational Rehabilitaion (DVR), Nesselhuf can continue to work the
land that has been in his family for over 50 years. “My father was a
farmer, I’m a farmer and my son is a farmer.” states Nesslehuf. “It’s
what we are.”
       Having purchased his own farm immediately after High School,
Nesselhuf has known no other life than that of a farmer. He now runs
his farm and the farm that belonged to his parents.
       Being a wheelchair user for over 5 years, it became more and
more difficult for Nesselhuf to do the work that he loves. But, it wasn’t
until he broke his leg in November 2004, that he seriously believed he
would not be able to continue farming his land. “Because he lost so
much of his mobility, I needed to go everywhere with him,” states
Ellen Nesselhuf, Berts wife. “We have a mini-van that was modified
for his wheelchair, but that didn’t work too well on the farm.” It wasn’t
until a friend gave his name to Jason Beck, AgrAbility Project
Coordinator with Easter Seals Colorado, that other avenues were
researched. AgrAbility, a program sponsored by Colorado State
University Cooperative Extension and Easter Seals Colorado, helps
make it possible for farmers, ranchers and their families, who are
facing new obstacles due to injury or disability stay in this demanding
line of work.
       Beck contacted Nesselhuf and visited his farm. After evaluating
Nesselhuf’s situation, Beck made an assessment of what was
needed to keep Nesslehuf working his farm. Beck coordinated with
ESC Rural Rehab Specialist Bill Tiffany, to design and implement
modifications to any farming equipment he might need. “After
evaluating Mr. Nesselhuf’s needs, it was decided he needed a vehicle
that he could drive from his wheelchair.” says Bill Tiffany. “He
needed something that would give him independence.”
        Easter Seals Colorado had donated an electric wheelchair that
gave Nesselhuf more freedom, so when Bill located the Kawasaki
Mule, he designed the modifications that would accommodate it. He
found that if the front seat was removed, the electric wheelchair fit
perfectly. He then consulted with Mueller’s Auto Inc. in Pueblo, CO to
do the modifications. A ramp was then attached. Nesslehuf can now
get on and off the Mule by himself. “This has opened up the world to
him,” states Ellen, “It’s given him back his independence. It’s a whole
new life for him”
       With the support of the Colorado Division of Vocational
Rehabilitation, AV Hunter Trust and the Friends of Man, Nesselhuf
received the modified Kawasaki Mule on February 22, 2006.
       “It’s been a really long process”, states Beck. “But it’s been well
worth it. That’s what the AgrAbility Project is about. We have to do
everything possible to help farmers and ranchers continue to do the
work they love.”
       AgrAbility is a nationwide program that provides information,
services and education to agricultural families with one or more
people who are affected by physical limitations or disabilities. Injuries
and disabilities that Colorado AgrAbility works with can include back
pain and injury, Multiple Sclerosis, knee and shoulder pain, visual
impairment, spinal cord injury, stroke, diabetes, hearing impairments
and amputations. “There are so many farming accidents and injuries
that need our attention,” states Rhonda Covington, DVR Counselor.
“It’s great to be able to work hand in hand with an organization like
Easter Seals Colorado and the AgrAbility Project.
       For more information on the Colorado AgrAbility Project,
contact Jason Beck at Easter Seals Colorado at (303)233-1666
Started out with the four seat Kawasaki Mule 3010 4x4
The fuel tank, battery, and some electronics are under the front seat.
Relocated the fuel tank to the bed, moved electronics and battery as
far to the left side as possible and raised parking brake a small
amount. Some wires had to be lengthened and a brace had to be
added to attach components.
Fuel tank in bed mounted with filler towards the front so the bed could
still dump without spilling. The original mounting hardware was used
in the bed. The fuel line was ran through grommets to prevent and
rubbing. The line was ran with the tail light wiring so it wouldn’t get
pinched when the bed is raised.
The roll over bar on the right side was cut and angled back to attach
to the rear bar. The bar on the left side is left in the original position.
This will still protect the passenger in the event of roll over.
The bolts in the floor were replaced with round head bolts to make it
easier to roll over them in a wheelchair. Hand controls were installed
and the pedals were cut shorter so they wouldn’t be in the way.

Their was jest enough room to get a power wheelchair in the mule.
We added a swivel base to the wheelchair seat so he could turn
under the steering wheel.
It would work better if the mule was lengthened a bit. A person with a
manual could pivot the chair into position with out much difficulty but
again if the mule was stretched a bit it would be easier.

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