Paying it Forward with Phoenix Donation

Local community member uses Phoenix donation to improve disability community.

What started off as just a hobby for Bill Waldschmidt turned out to be so much more. The Phoenix Residence first connected with him when we donated some old wheelchairs to him that we didn’t need.  And with a little elbow grease, a few new parts, and much perseverance, Bill turned them into works of art! To date, The Phoenix Residence has donated six wheelchairs to Bill’s cause.

It all started three years ago when Waldschmidt suffered injuries to his rotator cuffs, mostly from walking on crutches and with canes all of his life. It was then that he decided it was the right time to retire from his career as a mechanical engineer.

With much free time on his hands, Bill took up the hobby of fixing up old wheelchairs and donating them free of charge to individuals who may need them. “You know, I just want to help people,” Waldschmidt said. “It’s a lot of fun and I meet a lot nice people.”

Whether the chairs need new batteries or just need to be refurbished, he tries to keep the wheelchairs moving. “There’s a lot of chairs out there and a lot of people who need them,” said Waldschmidt.

The wheelchairs typically take a day or two to fix up and all his donations have been through word of mouth. If the chair is not salvageable, it is recycled. Most of the chairs have been donated to disabled vets through The Disabled American Veterans of Minnesota (DAV MN) or anyone who needs one and cannot afford it. 

If you know someone who needs a wheelchair or you'd like to donate a wheelchair, please contact Jackie Larson at 651-294-7964 or jlarson@phoenixresidence. We would love to put you in touch with Bill!