Robert Irvine, left, and Dean Kamen. Courtesy of Service credit Union.
As Veteran’s Day approaches, many remember the sacrifices made by military service members. Two NH companies and a national foundation are working year-round to improve the lives of veterans who lost the ability to walk.
In partnership with the Robert Irvine Foundation, the Service CU Impact Foundation Golf Charity Classic at the Wentworth by the Sea Country Club on Aug. 31 raised nearly $350,000, which will support local and national organizations that provide services to veterans and their families.
Wendy Beswick, vice president of marketing at Service Credit Union in Portsmouth, says the Service CU Impact Foundation provides support to veterans, service members and their families, so when the foundation was looking for a partner, the Robert Irvine Foundation made perfect sense. “We are planning really big things.”
Working with the Irvine Foundation, Mobius Mobility, a Manchester-based company founded by inventor Dean Kamen of DEKA Research and Development Corp. is providing iBOT personal mobility devices to veterans. The iBOT resembles a wheelchair can to climb stairs, navigate steep terrain and bring the user to standing height.
“This delivers access, independence and most of all dignity,” says Kamen. “When we ask someone to put his or her life on the line for this country, send them to Kabul, they encounter an IED and give up their legs, is there any question what we owe that person? ... I decided that any vet that needs [an iBOT] is going to get one.”
Irvine is a celebrity chef known for TV shows like Restaurant: Impossible, and Worst Cooks in America. He says Kamen is making the world a better place for veterans. “Dean has been a huge supporter of our veterans and active-duty men and women that don’t have the ability to get these, because no one knows about them,” says Irvine. “At one point, the VA (Veterans Administration) didn’t want to talk to Dean. We have 249,000 veterans that could use this and only this week did he get approval.”