Posted on Friday November 2, 2012
42 Years of Amigo Friendship
Friendly Wheels, Issue 57
Featuring Amigo owners Jack and Christina Howard of Perrysburg, Oh.
While multiple generations in a family business is fairly common, multiple generations of Amigo owners is a bit more rare! Christina Howard is a second generation Amigo owner, as her father began using one of the first Amigos in 1970.
Christina’s parents, Jack and Mary Ellen Howard, established Howard Jewelers in Perrsyburg, Oh. in 1967. Along with their jewelry business, they also became two of the earliest and most successful sales representatives for Amigo Mobility throughout the 1970’s with Howard Mobility Plus, Inc.
Amigo founder Al Thieme remembers Jack’s visits to Michigan fondly. “Amigo Mobility had just started and I was still doing some work as a plumber in the early 70’s,” Al said. “Jack would drive to Bridgeport in the afternoon and join us for dinner, then we would load up his Volkswagen van with Amigos and he would head back to Ohio!”
Before passing away in 1998, Jack remained active with Howard Mobility Plus, Howard Jewelers and as a disability advocate with the National Association of the Physically Handicapped. After 45 years, Howard Jewelers continues to serve the Perrsyburg community and is owned and operated by Jack and Mary Ellen’s daughter Christina.
Like her father, Christina has muscular dystrophy and began using an Amigo in junior high school. Since her parents were in the mobility business, she was fortunate enough to have five Amigos at school — one for each floor! She would use a lift device to move up and down the stairs, then transfer to a different Amigo on each floor.
Though she has used a variety of Amigo models throughout her lifetime, Christina continues to use an Amigo Classic FD from the 1970’s in her home. “Nothing gets me through the narrow doorways like the Amigo,” Christina said. “It is so maneuverable, and allows me to transfer independently. If ever they were an emergency during the night, I would feel safer knowing my Amigo is close by.”
Operating her family’s business with the help of her staff keeps her busy and always on the go. “I don’t like when I hear people say that someone is confined to a wheelchair or wheelchair bound. Use of a mobility device is not limiting, nor does it reflect negatively on the individual,” Christina said. “I’m very approachable with my Amigo — little kids often run up to me and ask for rides!”
Along with her jewelry business, Christina is also an associate of the Tiffin Franciscans, an organization of Catholic women who sponsor ministries to support and better their community. Christina and her fellow members reach out to others through programs focused on peace, social justice issues and environmental education.
Congratulations to Howard Jewelers on 45 years of business, and thank you to the Howard family for your loyalty and friendship to Amigo!