MEXICO — Following more than a six months of searching, former Mexico Town Manager Joe Derouche has the handicapped-accessible van he needs to get to his medical appointments.

The 2005 van was delivered to the Derouche’s home Wednesday from MobilityWorks of Gray, Derouche said Friday.

With the help of a loan program from Alpha One, a federally funded center for independent living for people with disabilities, the Derouches got a loan for the red Toyota Sienna handicapped-accessible van he needed to get out and about with his motorized wheelchair.

Several community members were on the lookout to help him find his van. They included family friend Doris Bourret of Rumford, who is a fellow church member of Holy Savior Parish in Rumford, and Mitzi Sequoia, also of Rumford, who has written many times in her weekly column in the Rumford Falls Times about Derouche’s need of a lift van.

Another person who helped the Derouches find the van they needed was Tim Pingree, owner of Sherwood Motors Used Cars in Mexico, who kept an eye out at vehicle auctions for a suitable van for them, Joe Derouche said.

Joe’s wife, Cathy, will be the driver of the van since Joe’s multiple sclerosis has left him with limited vision and other physical and neurological problems.

The government stimulus money sent to Americans due to the coronavirus pandemic also helped the couple meet some needs that are part of owning the van.

“We paid the insurance (for the van) for the first six months,” Cathy Derouche said, “so that’s something we won’t have to worry about, so that was kind of nice.”

With all the warm, sunny weather last week, the couple took their first ride in their new van to Andover and Roxbury.

“We went to see some deer and some moose, but we didn’t see anything,” Joe Derouche said. “But it was a nice ride.”

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Former Mexico Town Manager Joe Derouche and his wife, Cathy, bought a handicapped-accessible 2005 van with a lift Wednesday. Many friends and community members put the word out and helped to search for a lift van for the Derouches.

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