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By CATHY DYSON
The Plumb brothers will get a brand-new van on Sunday, then show it off to friends and neighbors during the Orange County Holiday Parade.
GW and Ben Plumb and their parents, George and Jane Plumb, will ride the 2013 Toyota Sienna through downtown Orange about an hour after they receive it.
The van cost about $65,000 and was purchased with funds raised by the community. The Plumbs will get the van at 3 p.m. Sunday in a ceremony outside Faulconer Hardware store at 197 North Madison Road.
Residents are invited to the presentation and the parade, said store owner Conway Faulconer. She also employs GW and has helped lead fundraising efforts.
"I knew we'd raise the money. I just wasn't sure it was going to be this fast," Faulconer said, adding she wanted to give a "big shout-out" to Fredericksburg-area residents who helped with the campaign.
The Plumb brothers, in their late 20s, have a rapidly worsening degenerative disease. Despite their illness, their parents were determined their sons would have normal experiences and responsibilities, including jobs.
Hardware store workers say GW knows more about the inventory than anyone, and Ben is equally respected at Virginia Tractor, according to fellow employees.
The brothers were entered in an online contest this spring during the first National Mobility Awareness Month. They were in the top 10 percent of vote-getters, but weren't among the three recipients of brand-new vans.
So people in the community decided in October to raise the money themselves. Doris Waugh, a 64-year-old nursing home resident who's been paralyzed from the shoulders down for 30 years, got things going.
She's a resident at Dogwood Village of Orange County Health and Rehab, where Jane Plumb works full time. Waugh hated the idea that Jane had to carry the men into the family van because the vehicle didn't have lifts and ramps.
Individuals reached into their pockets, and community groups pitched in with car washes and craft sales. As of last week, the total raised was about $6,500 short of the $65,000 needed to fully pay for the van, which is equipped with ramps and lifts.
Faulconer hopes the last event before Sunday will put them over the top. That's a "Vendor Blender" and bake sale on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the hardware store. Vendors offering purses, candles, food items and jewelry will donate a portion of their proceeds to the fund.
All money raised at the bake sale will go to the van, and donations of baked goods can be dropped off at the hardware store on Friday.
Cathy Dyson: 540/374-5425