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Auto dealer donates pumper cars to Kane County special needs students

by Ty Gant and Jerry Melrose

At the presentation of the pumper car donation by Droubay Chevrolet in Delta at Orderville''s Valley Elementary School (center): recipient and current class president candidate Corbin Lake; (then clockwise) Chris Kupfer, Federal Programs Director for the School District; Rob and Jill Droubay, owners of Droubay Chevrolet; Ben Dalton, Kane County School Superintendent; Brandon Jensen, Valley Elementary School Principal; and Wendy Harris, Valley''s Special Ed teacher. Photo by Jerry Melrose.

Helping folks find just the right car for them is no new thing for Rob and Jill Droubay, proprietors of Droubay Motors of Delta, Utah. It’s kind of in the name. However, the cars the Droubays were placing on Tuesday, May 18, were a little different from their regular business model: this time, the Droubays, in conjunction with other car dealerships in Utah and the Kane County School District, donated a pair of special instruments called “pumper cars’’ to the district.

Tuesday’s school visits and donations included Valley Elementary School and Kanab High school, with two cars donated each, and aims to donate even more around the county and beyond. The pumper cars are devices designed to help with the physical therapy and care of special needs students within the school district by providing a fun addition to exercise and recreation.

The cars are ingenious little machines, looking almost like a horizontal take on the classic manually operated pump rail cars you’d see in any Warner Bros. cartoon. The design emphasizes working both the upper and lower body, and is tailored to students who may struggle with conventional pedal bikes - the pump that powers the car is worked by coordinating arms and legs, encouraging both exercise and coordination. If the car does its job right, it’s a way to help students exercise and improve their health by fun and exciting means.

Testing the car is Ruby, with Federal Program Director Chris Kupfer teaching her how it works. Photo by Ty Gant.

When asked what was next, Mr. Droubay responded with an enthusiastic, “We plan on working with as many other auto-dealers as we can, and we’re hoping to get a few of these cars in every school in the state of Utah.” He was reasonably discreet about the actual price of the cars, but Director of Federal Programs Chris Kupfer made it very clear how much the schools valued the contribution:

“We’re so appreciative to the Droubays and Droubay Motors for donating these cars to the district - they’re expensive items we wouldn’t have been able to purchase on our own, and the Droubays have donated five of them and counting. We’re so grateful to them for their generosity.”

As the group watched a few of Kanab High School’s students give the cars a try for the first time, Kupfer added, “The benefits for our students long term are immense, we have so many students with needs regarding physical exercise and mobility, this sort of contribution is just amazing.”

School District Superintendent Ben Dalton echoed those sentiments, stating, “We’d like to express our gratitude to Droubay Chevrolet for providing these cars. These will bring years of not only health and physical wellness, but also enjoyment to the students.”

In back, from left, Trevor Stewart, Ben Dalton, Rob and Jill Droubay, Melissa and Caroline Atwood, Meagan Mevis, Braxton Bateman. In front, Chris Kupfer, Ruby, Blaine Wheeler. Photo by Ty Gant.

As mentioned, the Droubays aim to collaborate with as many other auto dealers in the area as they can to get pump cars into as many schools as need them, aiming for a statewide initiative resulting in every school and every district in Utah having access to equipment like the pump cars. They’ve already donated to Millard and Kane Counties, and are working with Washington County as well.

If the big smiles and small queue forming to try the cars at KHS are anything to go by, then at least a few students are enjoying themselves with the little exercise machines already!

Following the first Kane County leg of giftings by Delta’s Droubay Chevrolet, an appreciative Valley Elementary School Principal, Brandon Jensen, commented, “You know, this is a huge thing for the kids. Really exciting! When we’re getting to the end of the school year, it’s always nice to have a few things to look forward to. It’s a huge tool, the pumper cars, to really help some of our kids who have limited dexterity to truly get their movement going.

“For our student Corbin (Lake, 10-year-old fifth-grader), it’s huge for him. We can use it for motivation to get him to do his work, and something exciting to do each day. The kids love these cool things, where we get new things coming into school. It’s really exciting for us.”

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