There are many things that we take for granted in this life, including driving. In fact, the only time we typically think about our privilege of driving is when we don’t have the ability to do so any longer.
Unfortunately, that is the reality for many veterans who have been wounded in the line of duty. Nobody knows this better than Marine veteran Josh Himan.
When he was in Afghanistan, he was wounded when an IED went off under his vehicle and he lost the use of his legs.
After coming home, Himan worked along with Tammy Phipps, who was a driving rehab specialist and also happen to be his occupational therapist. She wanted to help him get back on the road and he wanted to help others get back on the road.
In 2016, those two started the Drivers Rehabilitation Center of Excellence (DRCE). It is the first driving rehab program in the United States that offers the services needed to help individuals who have physical challenges or have been injured to get driving again.
Phipps was already familiar with the process because she had created a rehab program with similar goals for the Department of Defense. Himan was one of her patients after being injured in Afghanistan in 2009.
Himan said to Fox News: “During my time in the hospital, you know, one of their things was, what can I do back in society again?” One of the things they told him was that he could drive but it would be difficult to put everything together and get on the road.
It wasn’t only the physical challenges associated with getting on the road that became a roadblock, there was a mountain of paperwork that needed to be completed as well. Phipps received numerous calls on this issue, but there was only a small portion of physical therapists who were able to handle the situation.
That is how the DRCE got its start. After they evaluate the driver and their own personal needs, they install any equipment that is necessary to get them back on the road. The driver then goes through a rehab program until they are confident enough to get behind the wheel.
It isn’t only veterans that are benefiting from the efforts of the DRCE. In their words, they “help quadriplegics all over America” and take the skills they learned from the military to help those in the civilian world as well.
Learn more about the DRCE and their work on their website here or follow them on Facebook and Instagram.