“She was trying with all her might to push her husband in his wheelchair up the long ramp leading into their home,” Al said. “She barely had the strength to get him up there.” Tom looked over at his buddy, Al, and said that just wasn’t right. Maybe the guys over at their VFW Post 11508 in Chatsworth/Woodland Hills would chip in to buy the couple a used motorized chair. Tom said he’d call his son, who worked at the local Salvation Army store, to see if they had any used wheelchairs for sale. They didn’t, but there was one motorized chair out back by the Dumpster. It was broken, and no one at the store could fix it. “Have them save it for us,” Al said. “I think my son can fix it.” Mike Reiter runs a local towing company, and he had a couple of his guys take a look. Turns out, the chair just needed a new battery and speed-control unit and some wiring. But tell the Lurssens to watch it, Mike said. He had set the chair for the lowest speed, but it still had a lot of power. Crank it up too much and they’d be doing wheelies through the mobile home park. So that’s what Al and Tom were doing standing on the Lurssens’ front porch last week when Edwin pulled up. “Thank you, but we don’t have the money for that,” Edwin told the men. No, you don’t understand, Al said. Your parents don’t have to pay us a penny. It’s yours. Just have your mom watch the speed control. “We still didn’t believe it was true,” Edwin said Friday, watching his mom easily get his father’s wheelchair up the ramp. “We thought maybe we’d be billed later. “You know, if my father had become ill like this in Guatemala, there would have been no help for him. But here, in this country, there is help, even from strangers. “Something like this makes you realize just how great this country is,” Edwin said. Al and Tom smiled. He wasn’t going to get any argument from them. Dennis McCarthy’s column appears Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday. Dennis McCarthy, (818) 713-3749 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Emperatriz Lurssen didn’t know what to make of the two men standing on her front porch last week with a motorized wheelchair. “I can’t afford that,” she told them. They didn’t want to sell it to her, Tom MacDonald and Al Reiter said. They wanted to give it to her. The native of Guatemala still didn’t understand. Strangers don’t just knock on your door and simply offer to give you a motorized wheelchair worth $3,000. There had to be some catch. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week Wait there, Emperatriz told the men. She needed to call her son. Edwin would know what to do. Up until a few years ago, she would have simply asked Julio, her husband, but that was no longer possible. Alzheimer’s had robbed him of his ability to speak, and Parkinson’s disease had put him in the manual wheelchair by the front door. So she called her son, who told her to ask the men to wait a few minutes while he drove over to his mother’s Canoga Park mobile home park to see what was going on. Tom and Al said sure, they had plenty of time. They were both retired and lived with their wives just around the corner from Julio and Emperatriz in Canoga Mobile Estates. They didn’t personally know this couple, who had moved in a few years ago, but they knew of them. And they had seen how difficult it was for the frail woman to care for her ailing husband.