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Darien Gets Freddie His Van

DARIEN, Conn. – Freddie Tuccinardi has always had a tough time getting around town in his wheelchair. But those problems are over since the Darien community came together to raise the funds for him to get a handicap-accessible van. The 2010 Dodge Caravan was delivered to Tuccinardi and his mother Judy at the Darien Firehouse on Thursday afternoon.

"This opens up a whole new world for me," Freddie said as he rolled down the van's ramp and greeted his friends and well-wishers. "I don't have to worry about how I need to get around anymore, I can just go."

Freddie uses a wheelchair because of his cerebral palsy.

Judy was in shock over the gift. "It's like a miracle and a fantasy at the same time. Tomorrow morning I'm going to wake up and see it parked out in the driveway and say, 'Oh yeah, that wasn't a dream.'"

The funds were raised through the Darien Lions Club and the Darien Fire Department . Last month, they joined together to hold a pancake breakfast in Freddie's honor, with hundreds coming out to support the cause.

"It's just what the doctor ordered. Only this time, the doctor is the whole town of Darien. They wrote the prescription and provided the means for this to happen for Freddie," said John Campbell of the Darien Lions Club.

For Freddie to get around before, Judy had to carry him to her SUV and then put his folding wheelchair in the back seat. She couldn't get his electric wheelchair in the car. But those problems are over now.

The van was outfitted by Colonial Toyota in Milford . Freddie said his first destination is a golf tournament at the Westchester Country Club .

Do you know of any community initiatives to help a neighbor in need? Tell us about them in the comments below, on Facebook and on Twitter .

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