Bruno's Story: Lighted Chair Helps Him Go to Work
SALT LAKE CITY—The Utah Assistive Technology Program in Salt Lake City has kept Bruno Salazar in lights for four years. He received his first lighted power wheelchair from UATP: a green beast that helped ensure that when he crossed the road in the dark, he would see to navigate and others would see him. Recently he received another chair, another set of lights.
Those lights are an after-market modification that help Bruno navigate and stand out from his dark surroundings. He begins his commute to his workplace from his Roy home to Salt Lake City well before sunrise, and sometimes he has to cross busy roads in the dark.
After several years with the first chair, he knew he needed new lights. He also knew that the Salt Lake City facility had a new coordinator. “I worried that nobody else was going to help me,” he said. But coordinator Robert Remund and others in the Salt Lake City shop got to work, eventually fitting him out with a new chair, new lights and some strong batteries to power them.
It helps Salazar go to work. “I live here in Roy. I catch the bus, and then I go to the Frontrunner at Roy Station, and then I jump on the train so I can get to Salt Lake. And then from there I can move easily anywhere, because Salt Lake City has more options than here.”
Salazar works for the Utah Transit Authority, so he knows the system well. “I … collect all the data for the company, like ridership for TRAX [light rail], the FrontRunner [commuter train] and all the buses, the whole system. I use FrontRunner a lot.”
The ramps on the buses and trains make it possible for him to travel. The wheelchair helps him get to the trains and buses. The lights help him arrive safely—though even with them on, he was once struck in an intersection. He wasn’t badly hurt, he said, but now, in addition to the lights, he has added a flag to the back of the wheelchair.
And he continues the work that matters so much to him. “I’m a double amputee, and the left side of my body is paralyzed. I lost an eye, too; my right eye. But I still have to work because I cannot stay home, that is not the kind of person I am. I have to keep moving, I have to keep working. I like to work. I am so glad that the company can accommodate me.”
Do you need modifications to help you work, live or play? The Utah Assistive Technology Program has locations in Salt Lake, Logan and the Uintah Basin, with people who are skilled in finding solutions. The Salt Lake facility focuses on mobility devices, while Logan and the Uintah Basin specialize in many kinds of assistive technology. Call 800-524-5152 to find out more.