Korean War veteran Gerald Chase, who lives in the San Jacinto Valley, saw a growing need to assist other veterans who were physically or mentally disabled and their families.
Veteran Harvey Everett “Grey” O’Toole was presented a new six-wheel power chair, June 10, at American Legion Post 53 by Maneuvering Veterans Forward. The chair replaces his manual push wheelchair. The chair came from Empire Mobility, a major supporter of Cloverlane Foundation.
In 1992, Chase established the nonprofit Cloverlane Foundation in Hemet to focus on enhancing the quality of life for children, veterans and animals, by providing programs and guidance to assist those most vulnerable. More recently, he formed a division within Cloverlane Foundation, Maneuvering Veterans Forward, to serve veterans’ mobility needs.
O’Toole lost one leg and the use of one hand after serving in the Army National Guard as a mechanic in the 40th Armored Division in Fort Irwin. Chase, who is a member of American Legion Post 53, noticed O’Toole was having more and more difficulty moving around in the old chair and proposed the donation of a power chair from the foundation to help him out.
O’Toole said he enjoys greater freedom with the new chair. It is giving his independence back and improving his quality of life, Chase said.
Chase served in the U.S. Army from 1952 to 1954 and fought in the Korean War. He was given the Legionnaire of the Year Award in 2018-2019 from American Legion Post 53 in Hemet for his efforts helping his fellow veterans. The Cloverland Foundation was also recognized as Nonprofit of the Year from the San Jacinto Chamber of Commerce in 2018.
Cloverlane Foundation offers other services as well, including connecting veterans with Hemet Valley Medical Center for local medical attention, helping veterans to obtain their benefits for their military service and working to get homeless veterans and their families off the streets.
Recently, Empire Mobility was the victim of a major burglary in Hemet; many things were taken which were meant to help disabled veterans and other disabled families. Working with Cloverland, the firm continues to give qualified veterans power wheelchairs.
In 2018, Chase also formed Veterans Mobility Projects, which established a power-soccer team, the Warrior Veterans Adaptive Sports Club. The WVAC is the first all-veteran team in the United States Power Soccer Association.
Even more recently, Chase has become the chief executive officer of Next Step Service Dogs. The program trains and places service dogs with veterans, first responders and active military, suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and/or traumatic brain injury.
“During these trying economic times and a global pandemic, Cloverlane Foundation and Veterans Mobility Project are carrying on the military motto to ‘leave no soldier behind,’” according to the Cloverland Foundation. “It is a group effort to make this happen, helping veterans who would not receive help anywhere else. One of our missions is to assist disabled veterans in meeting their needs of mobility devices whether it be a wheelchair, power chair or scooter, and there is never a charge to the veteran.”
For more information about Cloverlane Foundation or to make a donation, visit https://cloverlanefoundation.org or visit the American Legion Post 53 at 124 N. Ramona St. in Hemet. News members are always welcome.
Tony Ault can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.