Organizers make last push to raise funds for vehicle purchase

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Josh Burt at a party in his honor last fall where he was presented with the funds that had been raised already for his vehicle. (Courtesy photo)

Organizers of a fundraiser are making a last push to raise funds to assist a Whitefish man in purchasing a vehicle.

Gene and Lyn Langstaff began raising funds last summer to purchase a new vehicle for Josh Burt and outfit it with specialized mobility tools. Burt, a 2017 graduate of Whitefish High School, was born with spina bifida, a birth defect that affects a baby’s spinal column development in the womb, and he has had to use a wheelchair all his life due to paralysis in his legs.

Lyn Langstaff last week said organizers are going to be fundraising through July 12 in hopes of securing the final $19,000 remaining to purchase the vehicle. The total for the fundraiser that began 10 months ago was set at $60,300.

“He’s been so patient as we’ve worked to raise the money,” she said. “We want to get this wrapped up.”

Langstaff said the goal remains to purchase a new vehicle for Burt because the specialized mobility tools will remain with the vehicle for life, and that will give him the most benefit for the longest amount of time.

“We don’t want to purchase a used vehicle and then have him break down or have to make repairs,” she said. “We want Josh to have this vehicle as long as possible.”

Burt, who works at Safeway, has largely relied on rides from family and friends to get around, and the Langstaff family wanted to provide him with a vehicle that would give him more independence.

Modifications for the vehicle are expected to run $20,000 to $30,000 in addition to the cost of the vehicle, and $3,300 for the first year of insurance for it.

Langstaff they were inspired to do something to help Burt after seeing his generosity with others.

“He always smiling and happy and greeting people,” she said. “He is always encouraging people. We wanted to do something nice for him and bless this young man.”

Langstaff said any amount of donation will help reach the goal. Donations can be made at Whitefish Credit Union locations under the Josh Burt Mobility Fund or through a GoFundMe.com page that has been set up. For more information, visit www.gofundme.com/josh-b-mobility.

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