Hendersonville – A Hendersonville company, Advance Wheelchair Transportation, goes the extra mile to make non-emergency medical transportation to those with physical limitations a “concierge experience.” Tony Strickland, a nurse at the time, saw the need in this area for improvement. When at work, he saw that seniors and others with disabilities had long waits and were receiving poor service as they came to and from the hospital. Thus he decided to start his own transportation company and did so with the help of his wife, Felisa Bayani a nurse, and his brother and sister-in-law. The Stricklands have two sons, Demetrius and Nicholas, and a daughter.
The plan was for Advance Wheelchair Transportation to provide a reliable curb-to-curb service that would accommodate a person’s needs, safely and comfortably. Be it a post-op appointment, chemotherapy, cardiac rehabilitation, a well qualified nurse would be there in the van to help any way. Perhaps someone has had a hip operation and must travel for a long distance. The nurse will make sure the proper medications are taken along the way. Their service frees up the Rescue Squad to handle more pressing calls.
Yet Tony wants a person’s wheelchair journey to be a pleasurable and memorable experience. Be it a short trip or long trip, these vans are equipped with needed medical equipment—such as oxygen tanks, medical supplies and feature hydraulic lifts. The company has traveled to almost every airport in a 400 mile radius—such as Atlanta, Charlotte, Raleigh, and Greenville/Spartanburg. Yet, the wonderful surprise is that the travelers will find a big television set, stereos, DVD players, wine coolers, charging stations, and wi-fi ability all inside the vans for their use. This is true luxury. One van has a complete bathroom, and 2 vans allow people with automatic wheelchairs to drive right into the van. The employees are punctual and wear crisp well ironed uniforms. Advance Wheelchair Transportation services most of the local hospitals, Pardee, Mission, and Advent Health. The company does Medicaid transportation for Henderson and Buncombe counties. They service a host of nursing homes and private individuals. In addition they are an approved taxi service for the city of Hendersonville.
When asked, have there been any unusual trips? “Well, Advance Wheelchair Transportation was the only wheelchair service for the recent
Olympic Equestrian Games at the Tryon International Equestrian Center in 2018. The company worked with Ken Feagin Transportation of Campobello, South Carolina, to provide more complete transportation that included wheelchair service. The company picked up celebrities from all over the world to see this competition, and thus the vans needed to go to airports throughout the eastern seacoast. In addition, they have transported many celebrities, including Leo Jackson, the NASCAR legend.”
Tony Stickland, the entrepreneur
Having graduated with honors from Hendersonville High and having been the captain of the football team in 1977, Tony Strickland, has had to overcome many obstacles throughout his life. After a few years in the military, he began working at General Electric. Sadly he acquired severe aplastic anemia, a cancer which has a very high death rate (almost 80%). Somehow through the success of some experimental medicine, he was able to beat the odds and survived, but his career in tool and dye at GE had to be foregone. Thus he took courses in nursing at Blue Ridge Tech, which he considers one of the best schools around and appreciates the support they have given him. But more tragedies were to befall him. He was falsely accused of a crime and sent to prison. Thanks to the efforts of Roy Neil, a local attorney, and Kirk Lyons of Texas, he was acquitted and released. His name has been cleared of the charges.
With such a background, Tony Strickland has many opinions on all the recent activity in the news. He definitely thinks that “Despite all, I don’t think we should defund the police. They risk their lives every day. There are a few ‘rat turds’ who need to be gotten rid of, but not the police as a whole. Money should be spent on better equipment and training.” “His heart goes out to the NC deputy killed in Henderson County, Ryan Hendrix, and his family. He didn’t deserve to be shot.”
Tony has many well thought out and excitiing plans ahead for the future. The Advance Wheelchair Transportation and Taxi Service is open 24/7, weekends and holidays, and has competitive rates. They never close or fail to provide service. They can take you to a doctor’s appointment or on a much longer trip. Call 828 974-4647 for more information.