Bell Tower gets residents outdoors with newly purchased TrishawSubmitted: 10/17/2019
Peter DuBois
Peter DuBois

Bell Tower gets residents outdoors with newly purchased Trishaw
MERRILL - Most people in assisted living centers don't get many chances to get outside.

One facility in Merrill changes that with a device called a trishaw.

Rosie Platte was one of the first residents to ride in Bell Tower's newly purchased trishaw.

The trishaw is a pedal-powered vehicle that safely holds two passengers.

It gives them the sensation of riding a bicycle without needing to pedal.

"There's a lot of people with walkers and that'll be an enjoyment for them to get on and take a ride," said Platte.

Several residents smiled as they took their first ride on the trishaw.

Bell Tower staff were excited to see their reactions.

"They love it; they absolutely love it," said Life Enrichment Coordinator Ashley Hilgendorf. "They're a little skeptical at first because it's new, something different, but once they get on it they're smiling and really happy."

The trishaw came all the way from Denmark.

It retails around $10,000, but thanks to a number of community donors, the folks at Bell Tower didn't pay a thing.

"Church Mutual was our first donor because they believed in the project. Knights of Columbus because of their interest in helping people with Alzheimer's. Multiple community donors, the people who sponsored our St. Patricks day event. The list goes on and on," said Bell Tower Administrator Kris McGarigle.

While the trishaw will be stored away for the winter, it will see heavy usage come spring.

"I'm happy we were able to get it out in this short amount of time still when we have nice fall weather," said Hilgendorf.

Bell Tower will hold classes on how to become a trishaw pilot in the spring.

They want to train more volunteers to give their residents rides.

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