Wheelchairs have been presented to 100 individuals in three ceremonies conducted by LDS Charities in partnership with Bang Rak Rotary Club of Bangkok.
Receiving the wheelchairs were people who have incurable diseases, crippling birth defects, accidents, polio or are lame or otherwise afflicted.
Krairat Watson, the Rotary Club's wheelchair representative, coordinates with Rotary Clubs throughout Thailand to research and select those to receive wheelchairs as recommended by health administrators.
Fifty wheelchairs were handed over in a ceremony at Songkhla on the Gulf of Thailand on Friday, Jan. 29. Elder Ray Caldwell and Sister Judy Caldwell, senior missionaries and country directors for LDS Charities, attended the ceremony conducted by the Songkhla and Yala Rotary Clubs. Government officials were among those attending.
The second ceremony took place north of Bangkok at a hospital in Ayuttya for handing over 30 wheelchairs on Wednesday, Feb. 3. Ayuttya Lord Mayor Narong Danchai and Ayuttya Provincial Governor Wittaya Phewpong were guest speakers. Several members of the Church's local branch attended.
The final wheelchair distribution was at Sukhothai, an hour flight from Bangkok, on Saturday, Feb. 6. Somechair Kaiswan, the district government representative, took time to discuss the humanitarian efforts of the Church. Twenty wheelchairs were presented to qualifying recipients. It was recognized that the Church's support and help are a welcome blessing. Sukhothai was the official capital of Siam (now Thailand) for 800 years.
Among the wheelchair recipients, a married couple, Pathum Phangsandorn and his wife, Noi Buakaw, expressed their humble thanks. They were taken as children to a medical clinic to receive polio vaccinations. Unfortunately, they received the wrong dosage and were afflicted with the polio virus. They met each other while involved in a weight-lifting competition used as a therapy measure to strengthen upper body mobility.
In general, about 100-200 people, mostly members of Rotary clubs, attend ceremonies to present wheelchairs, There are usually eight to 12 speakers.