We are very saddened to share the passing of Darrell Heath, a valued member of the NMEDA community. Darrell founded Ability Center over 25 years ago, which is headquartered in San Diego, and over the years significantly grew the business. Ability Center then became a part of the BraunAbility Arch Channel retail business in the fall of 2018 and Darrell remained an important part of the business, serving as Chairman of Ability Center’s board of directors.
Darrell had dedicated his life’s work to both his employees and customers, and was well known in the industry for his passion, entrepreneurial spirit, and lively personality. In 1978, Darrell worked converting vans for disabled use at the infancy of the mobility van movement. Sixteen years later in 1994, his first Ability Center store opened. Darrell dedicated the store opening, and his entire life, to helping the physically challenged elevate their quality of life through increased mobility. In the 25 years Darrell owned Ability Center, they grew to 16 locations in five states and employed hundreds of people and helped tens of thousands of people with disabilities.
To honor Darrell, Ability Center and BraunAbility will be matching donations dollar-for-dollar, up to $50,000, to The Darrell Heath Memorial Fund, which was set up by Darrell’s family to benefit DRIVEN / Conquer Paralysis Now. DRIVEN is a multidisciplinary center where individuals with disabilities can improve their physical, mental and emotional health, increase independence, and enhance their overall quality of life using a holistic approach to wellness. It is an extension of Conquer Paralysis Now, a 501c3 non-profit organization. More information and the opportunity to donate can be found here: https://p2p.onecause.com/darrellheath/home. Donations can include a message to the family by directing the message to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“BraunAbility has an incredibly rich history within the mobility industry, with Ralph Braun being the start of our legacy,” stated Staci Kroon, CEO of BraunAbility. “As BraunAbility has grown so has that legacy, and I’m proud that Darrell became an important part of the story. His commitment to both Ability Center employees and the customers who rely on our industry was exemplary, and his impact within BraunAbility was felt by many. He truly exemplified our mission of “Making Life a Moving Experience” and was a champion for those with disabilities. He will be will be sorely missed but not forgotten.”