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Free Wheelchair Mission

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Free Wheelchair Mission Welcomes New Chairman of the Board, Thanks Chairman Emeritus for 10 Years of Service

Irvine, CA, August 17, 2017 --( Free Wheelchair Mission (FWM) welcomes 2017 Chairman of the Board of Directors Stuart Rattray while celebrating Chairman Emeritus Jim Franklin’s service over the last 10 years. The Irvine-based humanitarian, faith-based organization provides durable and adaptable wheelchairs at no cost to people with little to no mobility in developing nations—and just celebrated the tremendous milestone of distributing its one millionth wheelchair.

Rattray’s involvement with Free Wheelchair Mission was a natural extension of his lengthy career as a senior executive in the maritime shipping industry. Rattray, a resident of Madison, Connecticut, retired from German shipping container carrier Hapag-Lloyd in 2013. He began his involvement with Free Wheelchair Mission in 2002 on a volunteer basis, leveraging his expertise in ocean transportation to assist with the organization’s first container shipments. Rattray joined the FWM board in 2014 and will continue to bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to help guide the organization to its next milestone.

“We are so excited to enter this new phase with Stuart’s leadership, expertise, and dedication,” said Don Schoendorfer, FWM Founder and President. “With so many more people in need of a wheelchair throughout the developing world, Stuart’s knowledge of how to deliver these chairs in the most efficient way possible, combined with his passion for giving, is invaluable to our mission.”

As FWM welcomes Rattray, it acknowledges the huge impact Franklin made to propel the organization forward. Franklin is CEO of HAR-BRO, a corporation specializing in the restoration of properties damaged due to fire, water, earthquake, or other catastrophes. As a veteran of the industry, Franklin has developed outstanding construction expertise through his dedication to high quality and customer satisfaction.

Franklin, a resident of Irvine, California, brought that same dedication to FWM, joining the Board of Directors in 2004 and serving as its Chairman since 2007. His vision and leadership steered the organization from its humble beginnings in Schoendorfer’s garage to a worldwide operation that has served 93 countries. This summer, the organization distributed its one millionth wheelchair, helping restore the mobility, independence, and hope of people with limited mobility in developing countries. Franklin will remain on the board as an active member as FWM begins its mission to give out the next million wheelchairs by 2025.

“Free Wheelchair Mission would not be where it is today without the guiding hand and perseverance Jim has provided all these years,” Schoendorfer said. “We gave out the first million in 16 years, and now we aim to do the next million in eight years.”

About Free Wheelchair Mission:
Free Wheelchair Mission (FWM) is a humanitarian, faith-based, nonprofit organization that provides wheelchairs at no cost to people with disabilities living in developing nations. In collaboration with a network of like-minded partners, Free Wheelchair Mission has provided more than one million wheelchairs to those living with a disability in developing nations since 2001, providing dignity, independence, and hope through the gift of mobility. Learn more at
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HKA Marketing Communications
Delaine Moore

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