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People in Orange begin fundraising campaign to buy a handicapped-accessible van for the Plumb brothers
GW and Ben Plumb finished in the top 10 percent
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By CATHY DYSON
The Plumb brothers of Orange County didn't win a handicapped-accessible van in a nationwide contest, so members of the community decided to raise the money for one themselves.
Leading the cause is Doris Waugh, a 64-year-old nursing home resident who's been paralyzed from the shoulders down for 30 years.
She's a resident at Dogwood Village of Orange County Health and Rehab, where Jane Plumb works full time.
Jane and her husband, George, are the parents of GW and Ben Plumb, brothers in their late 20s who have a rapidly worsening degenerative disease.
This spring, the brothers were featured in stories in The Free Lance-Star as they were part of an online contest, sponsored by the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association.
The Plumbs finished in the top 10 percent in the contest that drew more than 1 million votes. But they didn't win the handicapped-accessible van, and Waugh thought they deserved it.
She and others in the community have seen the way Jane Plumb has to carry each of her sons into the van, which can't accommodate their wheelchairs. The Plumbs leave an older wheelchair at home and a newer one at each of their workplaces.
Jane and George Plumb have always insisted their sons lead a normal life, despite the disease that causes muscle weakness, then difficulty walking.
Waugh talked with Forest Porter, a Methodist minister who visits her regularly, about raising money for a van. She also mentioned her plans to administrators at the nursing home, who said she couldn't conduct fund-raisers there because other employees at the facility have families in need.
Waugh set up a bank account with the Virginia National Bank in Orange. Others put collection jars where the brothers work. GW works at Faulconer Hardware and Ben at Virginia Tractor.
So far, about $25,000--half of the money needed--has been collected.
"Can you believe it?" Waugh asked. "This is a great community."
The money has come from a variety of sources. The owner of a hog donated the animal to the Orange County Fair, which auctioned it and gave the $5,000 proceeds to the van fund.
Another donation of $5,000 came from an anonymous source, Jane Plumb said.