expanding its reach with its ALLY chair program. Volunteers were assessing fundraising opportunities, including the fall campaign from the Missouri Bankers Association, that would enable them to award more ALLY chairs and continue to provide maintenance support for Segways already in use.

“We have awarded Segways and ALLY chairs to more than 2,000 recipients since 2005,” said Kerr, Segs4Vets president. “We expected to be gangbusters this year, both in terms of awards and being able to address the changes that current beneficiaries have.”

Tose expectations changed in March 2020. Like the rest of the world, Segs4Vets experienced the ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Stay-at-home orders forced the cancellation of a popular Segs4Vets charity event in Naples, Florida. Segs4Vets halted training for award recipients. Te only U.S. plant that manufactures Segways ceased operations when New Hampshire issued stay-at-home orders.

“We didn’t know when the plant would reopen, how long it would be closed or what would happen,” Kerr said. “We acquired 50 Segways as the plant was closing to help us get through challenges that we could possibly face.”

When the New Hampshire plant opened in May, Kerr was excited.

“It’s always better for us to buy units as needed,” he said. “Housing a of large number of Segways in a warehouse is not in our best financial interests because it takes money away from training and support services needed for beneficiaries.”

Tat excitement only lasted a few weeks. In June, Segway announced it would close its U.S. plant and discontinue production of the Segway PT — the only device that Segs4Vets uses.

“It really stunned us,” Kerr said. “We were not expecting this, and the people working for Segway didn’t expect it, either.

“Literally, the closure of the plant in the U.S. would have spelled the end of our

program but for this — we were able to acquire an additional 136 units they produced.”

With 186 Segway mobile transporters now in its possession, Segs4Vets has pivoted its operations. It hired the head of service from the Segway plant in New Hampshire so that Segs4Vets could continue to provide maintenance services for beneficiaries. And, Segs4Vets now purchases parts for Segway devices and stores them in a warehouse.

“We expected to be gangbusters this year, both in terms of awards and being able to address the changes that current beneficiaries have.”


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