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Christian group aims to take wheelchair-bound to church

Jacob Oreso, left, and Ramsey Lee would like to establish a program to give wheelchair-bound people rides to church, social activities and stores. Photo by Randy Hanson

A newly formed organization dedicated to pro-life causes is exploring the possibility of starting a transportation program for people in wheelchairs.

St. Croix Valley Christians for Life was formed last April to champion the sanctity of life from conception to natural death, according to Jacob Oreso, the part-time executive director of the group.

"But we also are providing practical support, because we don't want to be Christians that just talk about the sanctity of life and do nothing about it," Oreso said in a Nov. 25 interview at the Hanley Place Apartments.

Oreso and Ramsey Lee, the group's vice president, met with the Star-Observer in a community room of the apartment building where Lee resides.

Lee is heading up the organization's fledgling Abilities First Ministry, which has the goal of providing training, resources and support for area residents with special needs.

"Abilities First is very passionate about caring for the people that not everyone is interested in caring for," Oreso said.

Lee has cerebral palsy, a disorder that keeps him confined to a wheelchair and limits his use of his hands. In spite of the disability, he graduated from Hudson High School and went on to obtain bachelor's and master's degrees in business from UW-Whitewater.

"The way I look at it, everyone has special needs," said Lee, struggling to speak because of his disorder. "Every day is a great day to be alive. Every day is a great day to glorify God. Basically, I'm enjoying every day of life."

Lee's goal is for Christians for Life to purchase a van that could be used to take people with special needs - especially those confined to wheelchairs - to church services, social activities, sporting events and stores.

He said people with special needs often don't go to church because they don't have a way to get there. "Our goal is to try to remove that barrier," he said.

"Everybody is a child of God and they deserve the same opportunities as the rest of society," Lee added. "They're just people, too. They may have some limitations, but they're great people."

Oreso said Lee and others with special needs have many gifts and are often interested in sanctity of life issues.

"As we do this, we are very passionate about sharing God's love with them, because this is what Christ would want us to do," he said.

Christians for Life would like to hear from wheelchair-bound people in the Hudson area who could benefit from a free transportation program. The organization is surveying people with special needs, asking them what hinders them from attending church and if they would attend if accessible transportation was available.

The survey also inquires about the social activities they enjoy and whether transportation is a problem for them.

Contact Christians for Life at (715) 381-2164 or to request a questionnaire.

Oreso said that if there is sufficient interest in a program, Christians for Life will start fund-raising and seek to acquire either a donated or purchased van.

The organization operates out of an office in the St. Croix Valley Cabinetry building at 476 County A, Suite 7, in the town of Hudson.

Members of the organization meet the third Thursday of each month from 6:45 to 8 p.m. in the St. Croix Valley Cabinetry showroom. The group also sponsors periodic community education programs and encourages local churches to address pro-life issues.

Oreso, a native of Kenya, is a Bethel Seminary graduate. He served as an interim speaking pastor at Trinity Family Center in 2006 and continues to do guest speaking in area churches.

He also is the development leader of an organization of Christian businesspeople named Success Oriented Networking (SON) and the founder of Africa Leadership and Care Ministries, which provides training to Christian leaders in Africa.

Randy Hanson

Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.

(715) 426-1066