BUHL, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) - A man in need now has the means to get around town. A group of students in Buhl, along with the help of a nonprofit organization, helped make this man's life a little easier.
Students with the West End Automotive Technology Academy worked on a van for several months, fixing mechanical issues and tweaking the wheelchair lift in the van. The van was donated by Care Convoy, which helps people in need.
"It was a little wonky, had weird little springs and really wasn’t adjusted well," explained Brad Lancaster, the instructor for the class.
It was a little more difficult for the students to learn with this van. Lancaster said they've never really worked with handicap controls.
"I don’t think any of these students saw a wheel lift up close and personal, so they had to learn it before they can fix it," he said. "Most of the hours we spend scratching our head to figure out what we’re going to do with it and make it work."
However, it was important for the students, he said.
"It was important to the individuals working on it for the individual getting the van could in fact be able to use it by himself, independent," he said.
For student Eric Martinez, he said it took a lot of work, but he enjoyed it.
"It was a lot of trial and error, but there’s sometimes, things would be working but the next day they just weren’t," he explained.
However, it was worth it at the end.
"Like seeing him take it and the smile on his face, it was really good. It was just a lot of fun to work on," Eric said.
The van was presented to James Holston, who had his left leg amputated a few months back.
"It was determined that I had necrotizing fasciitis, which is a flesh eating disease," Holston explained to KMVT.
The leg amputation changed his life.
"I won’t have to sit at home looking out the window, waiting for the next physical therapist or nurse or something," he said.
The van gives him a new set of wheels and the ability to be more independent.
"I guess it’s like getting out of jail. You got all this movement now and you don’t know what to do with it," he said.
Lancaster said it felt good to help the students and Holston himself while doing a job he loves.
"Not just mechanical stuff, they can learn that on anything," he said of the students. "They learned that through the power of knowledge that they’re gaining in the automotive industry, they can make a difference in their life and they can make a difference in other lives and that through generosity, they can actually affect someone else really deeply like they did today. It’s a lot more than just nuts and bolts, it’s about heart."