This is Washington Elementary Principal Hallie Ritchay (left) and John and Erica Ciulla. (Metro Wire photo)

Local entrepreneurs facilitate wheelchair donation at elementary school

By Brandi Makuski

Washington Elementary is now the proud owner of a collapsible wheelchair designed for students who get injured while at school.

John and Erica Ciulla facilitated the donation to the school this week, courtesy of the Ciullas’ respective businesses — Founding Fathers Coffee House and Health & Wellness Connection — and Doug Munsey, president of Ki Mobility in Stevens Point. Munsey was unavailable for the presentation on March 1.

The idea came to John Ciulla’s mind when the couple’s 11-year-old son sprained his ankle at school earlier this year.

“When I came to pick him up, I had to carry him to the car, which was no big deal for me, but what about other parents?” John Ciulla asked on Friday. “I asked the school if they had anything like this for the kids, to get an injured child safely to a parent’s vehicle, and they said no.”

Erica Ciulla also wondered, “And what do they do at other schools when something like this happens?”

The Ciulla family lives in the same neighborhood as Munsey, and John Ciulla said he simply called up his neighbor to ask if Ki Mobility would be willing to assist.

“Doug said, ‘You got it, just tell me what you need,'” John Ciulla said, estimating the wheelchair was worth about $900.

Erica Ciulla also donated about $80 worth of Coban, a self-adherent elastic wrap, which she said her family used a lot of, as their children were very active.

Washington Principal Hallie Ritchay, who worked in skilled nursing before working for the district, said the school was grateful for the donation.

“This is so generous and thoughtful, and I know it’ll get used,” she said.