Norwich businessman helping more people with wheelchair giveaway

NORWICH, Conn. (WTNH) — Last year was supposed to be Phil Pavone’s final wheelchair giveaway but he’s back at it again.

“I had so many requests for chairs I just had to do it,” says Pavone who owns AZ Pawn in Norwich.

wheelchair giveaway 1 Norwich businessman helping more people with wheelchair giveawayOnce again the empty storefront near his shop is filled with motorized wheelchairs and again they all need batteries along with some TLC.

“Every year the batteries cost me probably in excess of $10,000 a little bit more than that this year,” says Pavone. “Fortunately I’m mechanically inclined.”

The chairs come from people like Jerry Bernier of Bristol. His mother-in-law passed away just three weeks after getting the new chair.

He dropped off the Jazzy wheelchair to Pavone Thursday afternoon.wheelchair giveaway 2 Norwich businessman helping more people with wheelchair giveaway

“Somebody can use it maybe a vet,” says Bernier. “Maybe a good vet can use this thing.”

This year Pavone will be giving away 65 motorized chairs on December 11th at the Holiday Inn in Norwich but he made one special delivery this week to a woman who hadn’t been out of her house for a year.

Related Content: Norwich pawn shop owner wants to give away more motorized wheelchairs

“She had actually saw it on TV last year on your station for real,” says Pavone.

wheelchair giveaway 3 Norwich businessman helping more people with wheelchair giveawayShe was too camera shy to talk with us but folks who spoke on a video made of last year’s giveaway were glad to talk about how the chairs change their lives.

“Without the chair I’d be stuck in bed,” says one man.

“It means everything to me I feel very blessed today,” adds a woman.

Another man says, “This is the best Christmas gift I can receive.”

Each wheelchair can cost about $4,000 or more for specialty chairs.

“These can be as much as thirty, forty thousand dollars,” says Pavone. “Putting them well out of reach for anyone who can’t afford them.”

Those who need one just need to write Pavone a letter and send it to his shop at 442 East Main Street in Norwich.wheelchair giveaway 4 Norwich businessman helping more people with wheelchair giveaway

“I need your phone number, height, weight, right or left handed, and what your disabilities are and if the chair’s going to be used outside or inside and if you need a portable chair like a scooter or a regular motorized chair,” says Pavone. “I try to match them up to everybody’s needs.”

This year he says veterans and those with severe disabilities will be considered first.

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