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Aspiro puts new buses to work

Aspiro in Green Bay shows off its new buses after some of them were destroyed in a fire, May 3, 2023. (WLUK/Gabriella Premus)
Aspiro in Green Bay shows off its new buses after some of them were destroyed in a fire, May 3, 2023. (WLUK/Gabriella Premus)
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GREEN BAY (WLUK) -- It's been a couple of months since a fire destroyed five of Aspiro buses.

But thanks to community support, the organization that helps people with disabilities has a batch of new buses.

Aspiro says the doors of opportunity are open wide with the replacement of their minibusses. But it didn't feel that way initially.

“To get here and see the buses and at that time it was just the charred frames, it was devastating," said Nicole Hoffman Vice President of Development at Aspiro.

Hoffman says the staff quickly found a plan B to get their clients to work and volunteer opportunities without the buses.

But luckily, they didn’t have to stay in plan B for long.

Through community support, insurance proceeds, and GoFundMe pages the organization raised more than $500,000 to purchase five more minibusses.

“They came at a great time," said community exploration manager, Joe Stocks.

Stocks says it's a big relief to see buses parked in the lot so soon.

"We wouldn’t be able to do the work programming that we do without our vehicles and we’re going to 12 difference places whether it be to volunteer or work each day," said Stocks.

He says it's even more crucial to have transportation during the spring and summer months.

“Lots of outdoor programming that we do and it's a big goal to get our clients outside in our community as much as it is to get working on other stuff," said Stocks.

Stocks and Hoffman say the clients approve of the new buses.

“Today they have full ownership of these buses now and are proud," said Hoffman.

Hoffman says the official cause of the fire is undetermined.

“At the time they found no evidence of arson but they could not rule it out. They did however find some evidence of electrical but they can not be 100% sure without sending those parts to an outside lab," said Hoffman.

But she is sure that with the replacements, clients will continue building full lives, and it's all thanks to the community opening their hearts.

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