Lending some assistance
CLAREMONT, N.H. (WCAX) - Many of us donate money or volunteer, but an Upper Valley man puts most of us to shame. Nick Koloski runs a produce program for folks in need, uses his annual firefighter stipend to buy toys for kids and now he’s starting a new venture that puts vital medical equipment into the hands of people who need it.
Koloski collects donated used medical assistance equipment such as wheelchairs, walkers, canes, commodes and crutches, and lends them out to people who need them, free of charge.
“It’s a magical feeling for me to say-- when they’re asking how much do I want for it-- zero dollars. It’s yours. Take it,” Koloski said.
Koloski stores the equipment in a storage area a few floors above his family restaurant.
"We try to keep almost one of everything,” Koloski said.
It started a couple of years ago when Koloski saw a perfectly good used wheelchair ready to be tossed into the trash. He asked the owner if he could take it instead.
“I just thought that has a lot of life left in it,” Koloski said.
After posting the wheelchair on social media, someone reached out to Koloski asking if they could use it.
“When you’re in need of this stuff, it’s usually a sudden need and you’re not prepared for it and if you’re not of financial means,” Koloski said. "I can’t imagine having to chase that stuff down.”
Jaclynn Carrier is an example of that fact. Her family reached out to Koloski through Facebook. They were looking for a wheelchair to help Carrier get around after suffering seizures that wouldn’t allow her to walk. Insurance didn’t cover a wheelchair, so her family would have had to pay for it out of pocket.
“When I was using it, I used to send him Facebook messages almost every week," Carrier said. "What he does for everybody is amazing.”
Koloski also helps professionals acquire hard to find items. Joanna Flynn of the Mt. Ascutney Rehabilitation Center was looking for a rare type of walker for a patient. A colleague suggested getting in touch with Koloski.
“He didn’t have one at the time, but I think he reached out and people donated what they had and it worked out perfectly," Flynn said. "The patient was really thankful for that. Usually, we reach out to senior centers. They have a lot of donations, but it’s great to have other options since they don’t have everything we need.”
“I was once told I’m a catalyst for good and it’s not always my actions. It’s people saying, ‘Hey I have this. What should I do with it?’ So, it’s a great feeling,” Koloski said. "That’s how I was raised, do for others.”
A principle, much like the equipment Nick Koloski collects. Not to be stored away, but borrowed and used to its fullest.
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