Norwich wheelchair giveaway to change lives


In addition to running AZ Pawn in Norwich, Phil Pavone coordinates a huge effort to refurbish used motorized wheelchairs each year.

“We’re trying to make sure we have a home for every one of these,” said Pavone as he stood in a nearby storefront filled with used, donated wheelchairs.

He gives them away to those who need them.

“This year, we have a lot of people that are amputees, people that have had strokes,” said Pavone.

The people who receive a chair couldn’t otherwise afford one.

“These chairs are very expensive,” said Pavone. “They start out at about $4,000 and even go up to as much as $20,000.”

Pavone has been doing this for nine years.

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“After this giveaway, about 580 chairs,” said Pavone.

Nearly 100 chairs will be given away this year on Sunday at the Holiday Inn in Norwich. It will be a day filled with joy and appreciation.

“Some of these people cannot walk at all,” said Pavone. “Some of these people cannot get out of bed without help from others. These chairs are independence.”

“Even after nine years, Pavone still gets more and more letters from people who need these chairs, but on the flip side, he is also hearing from more and more people who can donate the chairs, and that is what keeps this effort going.

The chairs which cannot be fixed are saved for parts. Things like the controllers can cost several hundred dollars to replace.

Pavone spends $10,000 every year of his own money and what’s donated to him to replace all the batteries.

Volunteers also replace seats, tires, and whatever else is needed to get them working well.

It’s not too late to see if he can match you with a chair. He’s accepting phone call requests through Thursday.

Just call 860-889-4474 and ask for Phil.

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