AMBUCS – Shoulders Together for over 100 years
William L. White graduated from Auburn University on June 22, 1919. He had a dream to begin a national service organization for young business and professional men. White had the spirit and the initiative, but this young engineer and practical idealist lacked funding for such a major undertaking.
What to do? Surprisingly enough, turpentine played a major role in this story. At that time the turpentine industry was centered in Valdosta, GA. The booming industry used turpentine cups to gather crude resin from long-leaf pines. The resin was then distilled to produce turpentine and rosin.
White lost no time in offering turpentine cups for sale. Soon, he put $1,000 in profit into a revolving expansion fund. White now had the money, and this forward-thinking man founded the first American Business Club in Birmingham on May 18, 1922.
This first club had 50 members and they adopted a constitution and the motto that is still used today – Shoulders Together.
In the early 1990s, Sue Haywood, a pediatric physical therapist in Texas, found it troubling with how expensive adaptive tricycles were. She owned one adaptive tryke that she let each kid use for a week at a time. Sue saw a difference in strength, tone and self-confidence even in those short periods of use and wondered what great leaps her kids would make if each of them had access to a tricycle of their own.
Sue expressed her frustration to members of the local Longview AMBUCS chapter. The tagline of National AMBUCS is Inspiring mobility & independence, so Sue was talking to exactly the right audience. Gene Allen, a member of the Longview chapter, quickly volunteered the use of his small fabrication shop.
Blaine, one of the first Amtryke recipients
Soon many chapter members were regularly volunteering their time and skills to build trykes and give them, free of charge, to Sue’s patients which then spread to children with disabilities in the community.
In 1995, the Longview chapter took their tryke project to the AMBUCS National Conference to share with the rest of the organization. The presentation was met with resounding applause and the membership voted to include the Amtryke Program as a nationwide project.
Now there are around 5,000 AMBUCS members, in 157 chapters, serving in more than 36 states. Nearly every chapter chooses to carry out the mission, at least in part, by providing Amtryke adaptive tricycles to people in their community.
A Physical Therapist inspired the Amtryke project and today Physical and Occupational Therapists still play a vital role. Each chapter works with local therapists, who identify children that would benefit from an adaptive tryke and make sure those children are correctly and safely fitted to the best Amtryke for them. Many therapists become chapter members and many chapters are formed with therapists at the core.
First Generation and Current Amtryke