Onix Ortiz, of Bridgeport, sets up special fund to raise money for handicap-accessible van

Onix Ortiz, 19, has been in a wheelchair since he was 4 years old. (3/30/14)

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BRIDGEPORT - A disabled man from Bridgeport spoke publicly for the first time today about how the recent federal budget cuts are affecting him.

Onix Ortiz, 19, has been in a wheelchair since he was 4 years old. The Edna Avenue resident says the recent round of federal budget cuts have made his life extremely difficult.

Ortiz, who suffers from cerebral palsy, has a part-time job at Webster Bank Arena. He says he often gets stranded in the evening after his shift is over, sometimes for several hours, because there is little or no public transportation for people with disabilities at that time of night.

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Officials say the lack of transportation is the result of a recent round of federal budget cuts.

Ortiz is trying to raise $35,000 to buy a handicap-accessible van that his mother would drive to transport him and his 20-year-old brother, who is also in a wheelchair and also suffers from cerebral palsy.

News 12 Connecticut shared Ortiz's story with Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch and with Sen. Richard Blumenthal. Both men have pledged to help Ortiz get the new set of wheels he desperately needs.

Ortiz has also set up a special fund to raise money for the van.

 

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