By Erica Fox
Fox 5 San Diego Reporter
SAN DIEGO – An all-volunteer non-profit organization, Segs4Vets gifted nearly 40 wounded warriors with Segway Personal Transporters Wednesday as part of an annual event that gets bigger each year.
The Segways are given to service members severely injured in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“They can choose the path of dependence upon their family members and their friends or the path of independence and that’s what our programs all about, the choice of independence,” said Jerry Kerr, founder of Segs4Vets.
Last year, the organization gave away 16 of the mobility devices in San Diego. This year, that number more than tripled.
“Now with my Segway I’m going to be able to go with my kids and stuff on the boardwalks, the canal walks up where I live so it’s just going to keep me more active,” said one of the former service members who lost both legs after stepping on an IED.
The Segways can travel up to 12 miles an hour and cost an average of $9,750.00 each.
New this year is the Ally which is basically a chair on a Segway for people usually confined to a wheelchair.
“It’s awesome. I can go off sidewalks where a manual chair won’t let me,” said Corporal Kevin Dubois, who is the first to receive the Ally in San Diego.
Segs4Vets has given out 850 Segways over the past seven years and organizers plan to award another 2500 over the next five years.
“You start to see this transformation,” said Kerr of watching the veterans learn to use the mobility devices. “They start to realize they’re going to be able to keep up with their wife and children, go places, do things, to feel like they can once again live a really full life.”