Dear Mrs. Bewley,
I am writing in regard to my request for purchase of the specially modified van which we have discussed. You mentioned that you need a fairly extensive and precise explanation of my need for such a vehicle. This is understandable since it will be quite an expensive purchase. Given the facts involving my need, I am comfident that you will agree the cost is justified.
It is my understanding that the Department of Rehabilitation purchases vehicles for clients when it is essential to the goal of employment. As I have indicated in our recent conversations I am a member of the Board of Directors of the Center for Independent Living, Inc. (C.I.L.). One of the major goals of this organization is the establishment of a consumer/client based services program to meet the needs of severely disabled and blind people in the Berkeley area. The C.I.L. will be initiating a Project Development Program (funded by S.R.S.) to do extensive planning and preparation for this services program. I have been offered a position in this planning effort. The salary will be approximately two to three hundred dollars per month.
My duties in this position are compatable with my career plans. While working in this planning project I will continue to attend the University and receive my A.B. degree in Economics. After receiving my degree it is most likely that I will obtain a position in the C.I.L. services program, either as Assistant Director or Planning and Evaluation Coordinator.
My immediate need for the modified van is related to my duties in the planning program. Much local and long distance in-state traveling will be necessary for contacting and working with agencies and organizations in the area such as Easter Seal, Department of Locial Welfare, Veterans Administration, hospitals, civic groups, disabled and blind individuals as well as your own Department of Rehabilitation both locally and in Sacramento and other services programs in the state. It is imperative that I have an adequate means of transportation to carry on my duties in this planning program and fulfill my career plans. The career possibilities in the area of rehabilitation are naturally exciting and stimulating to me personally because of my experiences as a disabled person. Since I have in many respects successfully overcome my disability, I would like to share in an effort to help others do the same.
You reminded me that I now own a car which I can drive and you wondered why it would not serve my purposes. The strategic difficulties are numerous. First of all, I need assistance transferring in and out of my wheelchair. In addition, someone must load the chair into and out of the car. This means that someone must accompany me for each trip. I would have to pay this person and since the times of my trips will be varied and undeterminable beforehand it would necessitate finding someone willing to be on call at any time. If I could find someone the cost would most likely reduce my salary to nothing.
Another very important point is the fact that if I use a car, I cannot use my electric wheelchair. Thus I would need someone to push me around during working hours. This would certainly not promote the goal of independence which will lead to my becoming self-supporting. The modified van, however, would enable me to travel entirely independent of someone else's assistance. The modifications available from Robin-Aids in Vallejo are such that I could drive the van while seated in my wheelchair. In addition I could use my electric wheelchair and be independently mobile when I arrived at my destination. Further I would need no assistance getting in or out of the van.
The enclosed materials contain an estimate of the cost for the vehicle and modifications I will need. There are certain of the modifications listed which I will not require so the total cost will be somewhat below that given by Mr. Niles in his letter.
I would like to meet with you and Mr. Carter at your earliest convenience to discuss the details involved. One point I would like to bring up now is that I can contribute partial payment by selling the car I now own. Please give me a call after you have spoken to Mr. Carter.
Herbert R. Willsmore
2725 Haste #103