All Roads Lead to Independence

Almoner's Funds Provide Mobility Van for a Brother in Need

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Josh Marshbanks is a proud new owner of a 2019 Ford Transit Mobility equipped van, thanks to the generosity of Scottish Rite.

"We will strive to be a fraternity that fulfills our Masonic obligation to care for our members." - Scottish Rite Vision Statement

Our vision statement was recently put into action and received with the utmost appreciation and humbleness by Brother Josh Marshbanks, 32°, who gained increased independence and mobility this summer thanks to help from his Scottish Rite brethren.

That Fateful Day

Ten years have passed since Brother Marshbanks’ life was forever changed at just 22 years of age. It was a hot August day, and to beat the heat, he was enjoying a swim in the family pool.

An accident occurred, and Brother Marshbanks suffered a catastrophic cervical fracture, causing complete paralysis of his arms and legs. His injury was exacerbated by the immediate onset of pneumonia due to the extreme amount of water he had taken in during the accident.

“Though doctors were barely optimistic of his survival through the first night, Josh proved he was a fighter, and his will to live carried him through the initial months following his injury,” said his father, Timothey Marshbanks, 33°, who serves as Executive Secretary for the Valley of Detroit.

First Challenge: Housing

Through intensive therapy, Josh was able to come home a few months after surgery, which fused together his C4-C6 vertebrae, but would have to adapt to a whole new life in a wheelchair. New challenges continued to present themselves – the most pressing being where he would live, as his family home was unable to be remodeled to accommodate Josh’s specific needs.

Fortunately, his parents found an apartment not far from their home that was fully accessible, and with the help of a close friend and an around-the-clock caregiver, Josh gained some independence.

Second Obstacle: Transportation

The next challenge was transportation: how would Brother Marshbanks get to and from his frequent doctor appointments and therapy sessions? No problem: friends, family, and colleagues banded together and hosted a fundraiser to help pay for a mobility accessible van to get him to and from appointments.

The outpouring of support from the fundraiser brought in half of the proceeds needed for the van, and his family paid for the remaining balance.

Paying It Forward – Until . . .

Things were starting to fall into place, and Josh was eager to pay it forward for other individuals who were experiencing challenges similar to his own. In partnership with his brother Zac, the two started a transportation company that provided non-emergency travel for the disabled.

It was smooth sailing until financial backing for the transportation business pulled out and the business was sold. Zac and Josh were let go as a result. It was back to square one.

Between Josh’s frequent doctor and therapy appointments and the transportation business, his van had racked up 160,000 miles and had fallen into complete disrepair.

“There were days we were nervous to even take it out on the road, not sure that it wouldn't break down and leave him stranded,” Josh’s father said.

New Wheels and a New Lease on Life

When Paul Cross, 33°, Almoner at the Valley of Detroit, heard about Brother Marshbanks’ need for a dependable van, he recommended to Deputy Walter Wheeler, 33°, that the van be replaced with a new one to provide him with the specialized, reliable transportation he required.

Brother Wheeler brought the request to Sovereign Grand Commander David Glattly, who was also in favor of replacing the van.

On a sunny day in July, and with a smile on his face, Josh Marshbanks received his 2019 Ford Transit mobility-equipped van. The vehicle was paid in full with generous contributions from The Grand Almoner’s Fund, Detroit’s Almoner Fund, and the Michigan Scottish Rite Fund.

Josh and his family expressed their gratitude for the generosity of their brethren.

“Josh is looking forward to being able to participate more within the fraternity and to continue to pay it forward, as he understands all too well that no man walks alone, but always with a Brother by his side,” said his father, Timothey Marshbanks, 33°.

To learn more about the wonderful work achieved through the Scottish Rite Grand Almoner’s Fund, or to make a donation, visit: https://scottishritenmj.org/almoners.

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