Madawaska restaurateur leads effort to get electric wheelchair for resident

1 month ago

MADAWASKA, Maine – Local business owner Ricky Nadeau led a community effort to get an electric wheelchair for lifelong resident Robert Dufour, who recently suffered an injury preventing him from using a non-electric wheelchair. Nadeau, who owns Big Rick’s Burgers & Wings, first learned of Dufour’s predicament earlier this month. He said Dufour, who many in the community know as “Moose,” is a longtime customer at his restaurant and was in dire need of help.

“He asked if there was any way I could help him out in getting an electric chair,” Nadeau wrote in a recent social media post. “I looked in his eyes and told him I would try. I then posted on Facebook, looking for a gently used electric chair for a great deal.”

Within an hour, he said his inbox was flooded with deals and offers to help.

He said Dick Nelson, a father of one of his classmates, offered two chairs with no charge. One of the chairs was only a couple years and in great condition. He then went to the local NAPA store to order two batteries for the chair, and the owners sold them to Nadeau below cost once they found out what they were for.

Nadeau then reached out to another classmate in town, Eric Morin, who specializes in fixing heavy equipment and vehicles. They cleaned the chair, made sure it was working properly, and loaded it onto a truck and delivered it to Dufour.

He said Dufour had no idea they were coming.

“To see the smile on that man’s face when Eric drove his new chair into the apartment is something I’ll never forget,” he wrote. “We taught him how to charge it and use it, and best of all we got Moose his freedom of movement back.”

Nadeau thanked everyone in the community who came together and helped him obtain a working chair for Dufour.

“Our community might not be perfect,” he wrote, “but the people in it are. And together we will come together to help out our neighbors and those in need. That doesn’t exist everywhere, but it sure can be found in every town in northern Maine, especially Madawaska, Maine.”