South Fort Myers students present classmate with new wheelchair

SOUTH FORT MYERS, Fla. The smile on Tre Daniels’ face made it all worth it.

His classmates at South Fort Myers High School presented him with a new wheelchair Tuesday to replace the dilapidated one he’d been using. The gift was the catalyst for a National Honor Society fundraising effort that raised $9,670 in just 19 hours in November.

“Tre is an awesome kid,” teacher Kim Bathey said. “[He] totally deserves this. I couldn’t be happier for this day to finally come.”

The students ultimately raised more than $12,000, blowing past their initial goal of $5,000. The extra money is going toward a wheelchair for another student in need, 20-year-old Clarissa Nava, and improvements to wheelchair accessibility at the school, including ramps and a new water fountain.

“This is a happy day,” said Catherine Jackson, Daniels’ mom. “I really appreciate all the donations.”

Tuesday’s presentation was exciting not only for Daniels but for students who were involved in the effort, like Mikayla Holton. She described the new wheelchair as a vast improvement on Daniels’ old one, which he’d been using for more than five years.

“It wasn’t in the best condition,” Holton said. “A lot of the arm pads had broken off. The wood was sticking out. He had gotten too big for it.”

The fundraising project was a galvanizing force for the entire school, teacher Bethany Loescher-Lloyd said.

“It was tremendous for not only NHS but for all of South,” she said, “because we came together and got the community to come together with them.”

Watch video of the presentation that WINK News reporter Michelle Kingston posted to Facebook: