Dave Heydinger, a 64-year-old Navy veteran, as shown in a photo in Shelby.

A Shelby resident is seeking donations of used wheelchairs and other equipment such as walkers and crutches so that he can refurbish them and then provide them for free to disabled veterans in the community.

Dave Heydinger, a 64-year-old Navy veteran, said his career of about 35 years with OhioHealth in Mansfield included work in fixing orthopedic equipment.

He is looking to put that experience to use to assist area disabled veterans by supplying them with the equipment such as wheelchairs he's looking to fix and then give out.

Heydinger asks that people who have items to donate contact him via telephone at 567-303-9598 to make arrangements to drop off the used equipment or to pick up a refurbished item.

"If people have them sitting around, why not put them to use?" asked Heydinger, who is trying to make people aware of the effort.

"Even if they are not usable, I would take them just to scrap parts off of them to fix other ones," Heydinger said of wheelchairs, for example.

He added that he wants to help disabled veterans.

"There are a lot of vets out there who can't afford this. The whole idea is to help people out. Even if they can afford it, it is still helping people out."

He is a member of the American Legion, O'Brien Post 326 in Shelby, which is assisting by helping offset the costs for the repairs, Heydinger said.

"Part of the arrangement is that I have to first give them to Shelby vets and within a month or so if nobody from Shelby wants one, then I'm going to give them to the veterans commission in Mansfield -- Park Avenue -- and they'll distribute it in the area for vets who need them."

John Terry, past commander and current board member at the American Legion in Shelby, spoke of Heydinger's effort.

"We will help defray the cost," Terry said, noting that Heydinger will conduct the actual repair work. 

"'We appreciate his business, and he's going to handle it out of his home," Terry said.

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