WNYers, Buffalo Sabre, Assist Disabled Driver

BLASDELL, NY – The response of those seeking to help was overwhelming, for a Blasdell man who we introduced you to on Monday, and whose specially equipped vehicle was stolen from his driveway sometime last Wednesday night of Thursday morning.

Rick Jarosz, 42, is a single dad raising an 11-year-old son, and who was severely injured in a forklift accident while working at American Axle 17 years ago.

The mishap left him barely able to walk, even with assistance of crutches.

Thieves stole not only his blue 2012 Ford escape, outfitted with hand controls for the throttle and brake, but also his motorized scooter and lift needed to transport it

The process of getting an insurance check for the vehicle and equipment could take up to a month to begin, as the insurance company allows time for the possible recovery of the vehicle.

After our story aired, WGRZ-TV received numerous e-mails and phone calls from viewers wishing to help, with everything from offering Jarosz rides, to gently used scooters... even offers of quiet money, which we shared with him, so that he can get in contact with those good Samaritans for whom he is most appreciative.

"It says that Buffalo's a great community," Jarosz told Channel 2. "They are always there willing to help people and I am very grateful and appreciative of all the offers that you have gotten and all the phone calls that I have gotten from friends I went to high school with that I haven't seen in years. They've been calling me out of the blue and offering to help me. It's a great feeling."

The West Herr Automotive group sent a representative to Jarosz's home on Tuesday with a new Ford Explorer, which while not outfitted the hand controls he would need to drive it, can be operated by the driver they've offered to provide to get him around when needed.

Word of all this also reached Buffalo Sabre Patrick Kaleta, who says his HITS Foundation will help with transportation as well, by providing a van with hand controls so that Jarosz can drive himself if he wishes.

Kaleta personally visited Jarosz at his home to make the offer on Tuesday.

As well, Paul Snyder, Vice President of We Care Transportation, contacted 2 On Your Side with an offer to donate the services of the region's largest para transit transporter to assist Jarosz with his needs.

"It's such a great feeling knowing that we live in such a strong community where people are willing to go above and beyond their daily lives to help others," Jarosz said.

Click on the video player to watch our updated story from 2 On Your Side reporter Dave McKinley and Photojournalist Bill Boyer. Follow Dave on Twitter: @DaveMckinley2.


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