News Release

Church's Generous Wheelchair Donation Aids Mobility

DISID Receives 324 Wheelchairs

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints donated 324 wheelchairs to the Department of Integrated Services for Individuals with Disabilities (DISID), a Government Guam Agency. Deputy Director Michelle Perez states this donation is unique stating, “DISID has not received a generous donation like this in at least a decade.”

At a donation ceremony held at the Governor’s office on Tuesday, May 17th, 2022, Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero stated, “I am very grateful for your great generosity to our people of Guam and all that you do to lift the spirits of our people here. On behalf of the people of Guam, thank you.” Lt Governor Tenorio expressed, “you said it was a small token, but the impact is very great for the island. Your congregation has played a pivotal role here on the island of Guam.” William H.K. Davis followed Phyliss Leon Guerrero in speaking. He explained how Church members donate globally to the Church so this donation can happen.

Guam has a variety of non-profit organizations that help the disabled on an individual basis, but no individual organization has need for 324 wheelchairs that come in a 40ft. container.

DISID volunteered to store a bulk shipment of wheelchairs, then distribute them as needed to various organizations like Catholic Social Services, Salvation Army, St. Dominic, Guam, CEDDERS/GSAT, Guam Legal Services, and Guam Homeless Coalition. Government agencies such as Department of Public Health and Social Services, Guam Memorial Hospital, Homeless Shelters, Guam Behavioral Health and Wellness center, Guam Developmental Disability counsel, and Guam Deportment of Education can also benefit as needed.

This need for wheelchairs provides The Church with the opportunity to partner with DISID who will provide mobility and improved quality of life for the disabled.

Established in 1997, DISID was approached by R. Ching Batimana, a member of the Church, after he had met Timothy W Taitano who lost both legs, just below the knees, and was using a worn-out wheelchair. After conversing with Timothy regarding his situation and the availability for him to replace his chair, Ching contacted the director of DISID and discussed an opportunity to receive a large container of wheelchairs that could be donated by the Church.

With the ball rolling, Elder William H. K. Davis, an employee of the Church working in the Welfare and Self-reliance Department in Guam, made a wheelchair request to order a 40ft. container of wheelchairs. Elder and Sister Green, a communications and humanitarian missionary couple working with Elder Davis’ Department, were recruited to help write up the project and communicate with Ching and the folks at DISID.

The wheelchairs arrived April 22nd at the port in Guam. New DISID Deputy Director Michelle Perez problem-solved getting the donation from the port to their building by partnering with Port Authority and American President Lines (APL) who donated their truck and labor. The chairs arrived April 27th at DISID’s facility for storage.

Excitedly, a box was opened, and a chair unfolded to get the first look at the new arrivals. Each chair is embroidered with ‘Donated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ on the back. To accommodate the weather and conditions in Guam, each wheelchair was ordered with composite spokes that will not rust, tubeless tires that will not go flat, and a seat cushion for comfort.

With smiles, congratulations, and photos, Timothy W. Taitano was presented with the first donated wheelchair at the ceremony. Ching recalls the previous months when he first met Timothy and states, "because of Timothy, this project came to fruition." Hearts are touched seeing his delight with his brand-new wheelchair. The Church is grateful to touch hearts and bring joy while it continues to be aware of ways it can serve.

"I did this all so our Heavenly Father would have the glory for the donation from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to DISID,' states Ching Batimana, who felt this project would expand the Church's presence on the island of Guam and indirectly would share more about our Yigo Guam Temple and its members." 

During the ceremony, this was proven to be true as both the Governor and Lt. Governor expressed their feelings and knowledge of the Yigo Guam Temple they had recently toured, showing the great influence the members and the temple have on the community.

Jesus taught, “Thou shalt love the Lord they God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” (Matthew 22: 37-39)

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