People With Disabilities Become Victims Of Theft

Monday, August 1st 2011, 10:48 pm
By: News 9

Michael Konopasek, News 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- The Oklahoma Foundation For the Disabled says someone stole the tires and wheels from three of its vans.

Those vans are used for transporting the disabled to and from events and activities, but now they will have to do without. On Monday, the vans were left tilted and propped up with ceramic flower pots.

For more than 50 years, the Oklahoma Foundation for the Disabled has been offering guidance and compassion to people living with mental and physical disabilities.

"For so many of them, this is just like their home because they come here five days a week," said executive director Georgia Devening.

The foundation offers services to about 350 clients and some of those people have been with the organization for 25 years. Needless to say, when the vans were discovered Sunday it left the clients heartbroken.

"I can't tell you how sick it made me and our staff," said Devening. "As they saw it this morning when they came to work, they were all just so depressed. How could someone do that?"

All together, from the stolen property to the damage under the vans, the organization says it could be looking at upwards of $10,000.00 lost.

"We're a not-for-profit with funding cuts … that certainly was not in our budget," said Devening.

The organization says the vans are a big part of its operation.

"Our buses travel 17,000 miles a month," said board president Connie Weber.

The vans are used to take people with disabilities to and from various locations such as the movies or the mall. But, until the vans are fixed, there won't be much travel.

"It'll be a boring week for them," said Devening

For now, the foundation says it's in the red and it needs help.

"One of my clients today gave me 40 cents … 40 cents to help," said Devening as she began to get emotional.

It was a small gesture but one given with a big heart and in direct contrast to the actions of those who ripped off an organization that helps those with disabilities.

Police are still looking for those responsible for the crime. For information on how you can help the foundation, visit Oklahoma Foundation For The Disabled official Web site.