Good news: Aquatic chair lift donated to Hillside Swim Club

Stuart Roaker, owner of Pool Therapist in Travis, knew that Hillside Swim Club in Bulls Head was in need of a battery-operated aquatic chair lift for use by those who are confined to a wheelchair.

“Hillside Swim Club told me they were in need of a chair lift to allow people in wheelchairs to go swimming in the pool. But they are very expensive. Hillside is such a good-natured club, and they host the Special Olympics,” said Roaker.

Soon after, Roaker was doing some work at the Willowbrook-based Elizabeth Connelly Center, which had an aquatic chair lift that was donated to them by the Stephen Siller Tunnel To Towers Foundation.

“The Connelly Center said they already had enough chair lifts, and asked if I knew of any place that could use it,” he said. “I looked at the lift and saw that it was a very expensive lift, probably worth more than $6,000.”

That’s when he contacted Bill Boyd, president of the Hillside Swim Club.

“We had an old chair that was bolted to the ground and was run on water power. It was very old and frail, and falling apart,” said Boyd.

“Many of these special needs kids can’t enter or exit the pool any other way than through an electronic chair so we have been sweating for the past few years trying to figure out how we were going to be able to continue to provide Special Olympics with a chair that’s falling apart,” he added.

Roaker refurbished the chair the Connelly Center gave to him with $1,500 of his own money to make sure it was in top condition for the swim club.

“It’s nice when you can donate something and you know it’s going directly to the cause,” said Roaker.

Said Boyd: “This will allow us to host Special Olympics for years to come. We anticipate that this will allow us to place clients faster and quicker into the pool. It will keep the swim meet moving at a fast pace and still provide clients with the ability to get into the pool.”