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Lift-Aids of Texas Inc. (formerly Custom Home Elevator Co., Inc.) was formed in 1968 and was operated out of the home of its founders Mr. and Mrs. Otis Thomas. Mr. Thomas having been in the business of selling and servicing large commercial elevators felt the need and desire of the elderly to remain in their “own” homes as long as possible. Mr. Thomas started selling and installing stairway chairs and small residential elevators in homes thus making the task of chair climbing non-existent. In mid-1970, there was more interest being shown toward making existing buildings accessible to persons in wheelchairs. The Cheney Co. came out with the Cheney “Wheelchair Lift III”. These units were a platform type that travels up and down stairways. During the next four years the business consisted primarily of furnishing and installing the stairway elevator and platform lifts in private homes, semi-commercial buildings; such as schools and churches. In 1974 interest was swinging towards making existing buildings accessible to the elderly and handicapped and the installation of wheelchair lifts in vans for transportation of the handicapped became popular. The demand for wheelchair lifting equipment in vans increased so rapidly that a part-time mechanic and office help were hired. The company was added to bidders lists for the State Board of Control and Texas Rehabilitation Commission for furnishing and installing wheelchair lifts in vans for use by the elderly and handicapped.
By 1975, it was evident that handicapped driving and transportation was gaining more attention. Lift Aids accepted an offer made by Collins Saf-T-Lift and Special Products in the state of Texas. At the same time, the company was expanding their product line to include driving equipment and extended fiberglass tops. The “Porch-Lift” as manufactured by American Stair Glide was also added to the product line.
In 1976 the company was moved from the home base to a 3,000 sq. feet warehouse facility. Employees were increased to 2 full-time mechanics and 1 full-time shop/office manager with Mrs. Joan Thomas now working full time in the office. Otis Tomas devoted more time to the sales and demonstration of the equipment. The company was gaining a reputation for quality workmanship and for being inventive in the field of adapting and converting a van. As more pressure was being brought to bear by the public on making public buildings accessible, the company was receiving inquiries about the “people lifting” equipment not only Texas but surrounding states. The installations were ranging from churches, schools, colleges and office buildings. (with the mandate of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the demand was increasing for this type of equipment.)
In 1976 Wes Jones went from a part time employee to a full time employee assisting with sales and installations.
In 1977 Connie Stauffer was hired to work in the office and assist Joan with answering the phones and scheduling appointments.
In the meantime Otis Thomas became known throughout the state of Texas as a knowledgeable person and on the evaluation of a handicapped person’s ability to drive. The Texas Rehabilitation Commissions started sending their clients to him for evaluations and requested that he submit the specifications for the type of equipment needed.
In 1978, they had out grown the 3,000 square feet office/warehouse building and needed more adequate parking spaces and “work room” as there was an average of 4 or more vans in various stages of conversions at all times. Lift-Aids moved to a 10,000 office/warehouse down the street and continued their growing operations.
Upon recommendation of Texas A&M University Bio/Chemistry Department, Lift Aids, Inc. will be the factory representative for the latest engineering breakthrough in driving equipment for the handicapped,— “Zero Effort” steering system, reduced effort brake, remote gear shift, remote brake and throttle and horizontal steering systems.
In March 1979 the need for mass-transportation of the handicapped became evident due to the high cost of gasoline and the increasing number of employed handicapped. Lift-Aids Of Texas Inc. started receiving requests for bids on small Type II vehicles with wheelchair lifts in them that would transport both ambulatory and handicapped. Lift Aids, started building these types vehicles and has made a name for themselves throughout the country as a supplier of these types of vehicles.
December of 1984 Wes Jones and Connie Stauffer purchased Lift-Aids Inc., from Otis and Joan Thomas and continued running the office and the sales side of Lift Aids Inc., with automobile conversions and home and business elevator installations.
In April of 2001 Wes and Connie purchased a 15,000 square foot office/warehouse space in Euless Texas where they currently operate with 19 Full-Time employees.
Lift-Aids continues to be a proud Charter Member of the NMEDA’s QAP since 1993 and members of the National Association of Elevator Contractors and Accessibility Equipment Members Association.
Lift-Aids, Inc., takes great pride in their employees, and that shows by the years of service that each one has been with the company.
- Randal “Bo”- Elevator Service Manager started in June of 1985
- Richard- Elevator Sales started in September of 1995
- Some of the elevator service techs have been here since 2001 and 2002
- Darrell- Shop Manager started in May of 1987
- Some of the shop mechanics have been here since the late 90’s
- Randy- Sales Manager started in July of 2010
In April of 2006 Joan Thomas passed away from a short battle of Pancreatic Cancer and Otis Tomas passed away in February of 2014. Lift-Aids Inc., is still a family owned and operated business with Wes Jones (Otis and Joan’s son-in-law) Co-owner/ Vice President and Connie Stauffer Co-owner/President.
“Helping People to Help Themselves”
LIFT AIDS, INC. is a proud sponsor of NFF (Neuro Fitness Foundation). We aide NFF in their efforts to provide a specialized workout facility for people with spinal cord, neurological disorders, MS, stroke victims and many other disabilities to enrich their lives through cardio exercise, strength training, YOGA and over-all physical fitness activities, as well as providing a forum for making new life long relationships in a family friendly atmosphere. NFF is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that provides their facility free of charge to the membership, however tax deductible donations are gladly accepted. Helping people help themselves is what LIFT AIDS and NFF are all about. Click here to learn more.
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