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Tommie smiles as a boy drives his powerchair onto the Green Kart.

Our Team

Tommie fixing wheels on a walker.

Tommie Daniels

Spinal cord injury from work accident.
Institute craftsman since 2008

"Giving rides in these carts gives me great enjoyment."

"I like to work with my hands; to work on anything mechanical; and to learn while I'm working. The Institute gives me a chance to do that."

Tommie giving rides on the Green Kart.
Tony cleaning battery terminals.

Tony Thrift

Double amputee from car accident.
Institute craftsman since 2011

"Seeing the physically challenged develop self-esteem and confidence from outdoor activities just makes me feel good."

"I love being able to tinker and learn about machines that get disabled people out and about."

Tony modifies a zero-turn mower.
Ed working at the drill press.

Ed Groenleer

Single amputee from motorcycle accident.
Institute craftsman since 2013

"Giving those kids rides gives me more joy, more smiles, more hugs, and more thanks than anything else in my life."

"The Institute is a great place for me to use my mechanical skills and make new friends."

Ed gives rides on the Blue Hybid Kart.
Harrold making modifications to the  Zero-Turn Ranch Truck.

Harrold Andresen

Director and craftsman since 2003

"You know you're on the right track when the mom says, 'Oh, can he go around one more time? I've never seen him so happy.'"

"Building unique assistive devices around people who are so creative, inventive, and resourceful is the highlight of my week."

Harrold gives Bob a hug and a smile in front of the White Hybrid Kart.
Nancy brings her miniature horse up to the institute for a visit.

Nancy Andresen

Secretary and volunteer since 2003

"My own life has been challenged and enriched by getting to know the many team members and friends we have made."

"I'm thankful to have a part in such a creative and resourceful place that is making a difference in the lives of people with disabilities."

Nancy and Melinda smile for a photo at the Christmas Party.
Dick works on the Zero-Turn Ranch Truck.

Dick Wakeman

Volunteer since 2003

"The payoff of what we're doing is the laughter of the kids with the wind blowing through their hair, and the tears of joy running down the parents' faces."

"The Institute is a platform where these men can express their creativity, build something to serve others, and just be themselves without being stared at."

Dick giving rides in the Camera Cart at the park.
Jim using a grinder to prepare stock.

Jim Lewis

Spinal cord injury from a fall Institute craftsman since 2013

"Seeing the smiles, laughter, and excitement of the kids is just thrilling."

"Working at the Institute has helped me in so many ways: the problem solving keeps me sharp mentally; still being able to do some tasks helps me emotionally—to reinforce the fact that my life isn't useless; and it gives me a great sense of personal satisfaction to work on machines and make new friends."

Jim gives a woman a ride on the White Hybrid Kart.
James installing hand controls on to the Camera Cart.

James Klein

Staff since 2016

"The carts are a testament of the dedication, creativity, and servant-minded attitudes I get to see every week in these craftsmen and the culture they have created here."

"I believe the Institute fulfills a great need among the disabled community. It is a place where I have seen limitations shattered through optimistic thinking, practical problem solving, and perseverance."

James demonstrates features of the Purple Seat Slider.
Peter prepares the Musical Wrenches for the Christmas Party.

Peter Thorne

Volunteer since 2005

"Rides allow me to offer happy times to special needs people."

"The shop is a great place to help meet needs that are often overlooked."

Peter, Chris, and Tommie enjoy a ride on the Green Kart.

Our Team also consists of numerous volunteers who have served in so many ways to make the Innovation Institute the fantastic place it is today.