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Group pushes do-good decor


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Bartholomew County residents can spread Christmas cheer in their homes this holiday season while also helping those without sufficient insurance to cover needed medical supplies.

The nonprofit agency Access-Ability, formerly the local chapter of Easter Seals, is

promoting its annual tree ornament sale, featuring four creations this year. One is a likeness of Cummins Inc.’s Corporate Office Building. Others feature Columbus East High School, which is temporarily sold out, Columbus North High School and St. Peter’s Lutheran School.

Money from the solid brass ornaments, priced at $20 each, helps Access-Ability provide wheelchairs, walkers, hospital beds and related items to people without the resources to cover such a cost. Equipment recipients frequently donate whatever amount of money they can, said Cindy Olson, Access-Ability’s executive director.

Last year’s featured ornament was The Commons, which sold more than 500 copies. Many buyers were Columbus-area newcomers or architectural tour attendees selecting the items at the Columbus Area Visitors Center, Olson said.

“This has really helped

us expand our program,” Olson said. “There still are a lot people not aware of what we do.”

Currently, 1,200 people are using equipment loaned from Access-Ability, according to agency records. The value of equipment loaned in 2012 was nearly $100,000.

Olson said a 56 percent rise in clients from 2010 to 2012 can be linked to increased visibility in the community. She and volunteers have sold the ornaments at area football and basketball games, and volleyball and wrestling matches.

Columbus physical therapist Kim Wilson-Bickers, familiar with Access-Ability through her work with local home health clients, also recently helped sell the East ornaments to benefit the East girls basketball squad. Plus, she’s been helping sell the St. Peter’s ornaments as a St. Peter’s Lutheran Church member.

“I really feel like the agency has a great purpose,” Wilson-Bickers said.

Access-Ability has available most of its ornaments dating to 2000. It first began selling the building likenesses in 1995.

Columbus’ Joe Critney, who has seen the ornaments the past few years, understands their fundraising impact firsthand. He recently picked up a hospital bed from Access-Ability when wife Sophia was released from a local nursing home on short notice after hip surgery. Her insurance does not cover such equipment.

“I don’t think we would have had any other place to pick one up,” Joe Critney said, adding that the item would have been pricey to rent at $127-per-month at a local health aides outlet. “What they do definitely came in handy for us.”

Ornaments

What: Solid brass, 24-carat-plated Christmas tree ornaments of Cummins Inc.’s Corporate Office Building, Columbus East High School, Columbus North High School and St. Peter’s Lutheran School.

Who: Sold by the nonprofit Access-Ability, and also as a joint fundraiser with some area athletic teams.

Where: Available at Columbus Area Visitors Center and Viewpoint Books in Columbus, and at Exit 76 Antique Mall

in Edinburgh.

Cost: $20 apiece.

Information: Access-Ability at 314-2899.

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