From: Dave White, President and CEO Buddy Buggy Co.
People always ask me: “When did Buddy Buggy get started?”About 40 years ago although I didn’t know it at the time.
That was when my cousin had his auto accident, and everyone said he would never walk again. But with braces on both legs, wouldn’t give up. I watched him as he slowly made progress, first with a walker, then with crutches, finally with a cane. The two braces were a constant.
Before his accident, he was a pheasant and duck hunter. While he was on a
break from rehab, I took him to a goose hunt in Southern Illinois. We had to lower him into a pit blind, but he was happy just to be in the great outdoors. Soon after, he moved to Arizona, started a business and worked on his shooting skills. Years passed, but we kept in touch and always talked about hunting together again.
Mobility User Duck Hunting Illustration
So when he invited me to visit for a quail hunt, I jumped at the chance. He and his friends had found a spot that was full of Valley Quail. My knees were beginning to go by then, the grass and bushes were six feet high in places, and, frankly, I had a very difficult time. Meanwhile, he was out to my side, flushing quail, thrashing the brush with his cane in one hand and firing his shotgun with the other. The next day it was him and me in his hand controlled pick-up, bounding on trails through the Arizona desert, up washes and over ridges.
As the years passed and my core business slowed, I kept remembering my cousin and his determination to be mobile in the bush. I researched starting a newspaper featuring ADA-friendly products. Then, when 1976 postal jeeps came up for sale, I bought two. They had a big flat top, perfect for a wheelchair caddy—and a very wide back door, great for storing a walker, crutches or a wheelchair. To top it off, they were right hand drive, so you could enter and exit curbside. I rehabbed one and took it to a Mobility show in central Wisconsin. It was a big hit.
But the time wasn’t right. Soon thereafter, the Post Office pulled all its 1976 jeeps off the market, leaving me with nothing to rehab. More time passed, and my wife and I “retired” to New Mexico. With two artificial knees, I started thinking again about the challenges that men and women with more substantial disabilities face when they want to access outdoor adventure, whether it be hunting, bird watching or just enjoying spectacular scenery. I hired a few welders and an engineer, and the current Buddy Buggy and its cousin, the Buzz Buggy, started to take shape. . .
If you want to hear more about our story, just phone me at 847-525-9457. I’ll welcome your call.