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ACPD Helps Give Segways to Wounded Veterans

by ARLnow.com October 6, 2010 at 10:57 am 1,535 1 Comment

At a ceremony on the grounds of the Iwo Jima memorial this morning, some 50 wounded warriors will receive brand new Segway personal transport vehicles, the reward for “graduating” from a training program sponsored by the military charity Segs4Vets.

Although two such graduation ceremonies have taken place here every year for the past couple of years, this is the first in which the Arlington Police Department is playing an integral part.

ACPD, which has 12 officers trained to operate the department’s six Segways, helped train today’s recipients, and helped assemble and transport the 51 Segways that are being given away. County motorcycle officers are also helping to escort the group between the ceremony and meals at Army Navy Country Club today.

It’s a partnership that Segs4Vets and the police department hope to extend.

“Here was a way to reach out to the community,” said Capt. David Herbstreet, one of the overseers of the department’s Segway program. “How can you say no? This is an awesome cause and we’re humbled and honored to do it.”

The officers involved in the training all volunteered for the program.

“It’s a wonderful relationship that we’re really excited about,” said Mike Kelly, who serves on Segs4Vet’s advisory board.

Segs4Vets has given away 525 Segways to severely injured Iraq and Afghanistan veterans nationwide since 2005. The organization says the device gives wounded vets an additional degree of freedom and mobility while not drawing attention to their disability.

  • Sadly, however, Segs are often not accepted in buildings (e.g., restaurants) in the same way that wheelchairs are (and must be). I recall an incident at a Capitol Hill restaurant not long ago when a Segway user (and person with disabilities) was not permitted to bring his assistive vehicle into the facility. A Segway driven by a person with disabilities must be accepted on the same terms as wheelchairs. I hope the veterans (who have become disabled while in service to all of us) will not be turned away, and if they are, I hope they will take their cases to court.

    Thanks to Segs4Vets. You’re doing a great job! And thanks to the ACPD for participating in this program.

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