Joni and Friends Blog

Ken Vineyard’s Gift

Frank Costello, a dear friend of Joni and Friends, had a passion for collecting wheelchairs. With an enthusiastic drive, a generous heart, and a profound calling to serve with Wheels for the World, Frank was a natural leader and recruited many new Chair Corps volunteers!

But when Frank became ill in 2011, he knew he had to train an apprentice to take over his important Chair Corps responsibilities. He began to pray for God to send the perfect volunteer. While Ken Vineyard didn’t know it yet, Frank had noticed Ken Vineyard’s special gift for leadership and began mentoring him to take the lead.

Ken started tagging along on Frank’s wheelchair pick-ups. Frank introduced him to wheelchair donors, explained how to organize the storage trailer, and showed him how to submit proper paperwork to Joni and Friends. Before Ken knew it, he was coordinating wheelchair collection in St. Louis, just as Frank had done for many years! 

It’s a big job, and we are so grateful for Ken’s commitment to collecting wheelchairs for Joni and Friends. On average, about 400-700 wheelchairs are collected and shipped from St. Louis each year, so you can imagine how vital Ken’s role is to the Wheels for the World supply chain, and how many lives are changed because of his effort!

When Ken first signed up as a Chair Corps volunteer, he had no idea that he would become such an indispensable part of our Chair Corps team, but God knew that Ken was exactly the right person to take over for Frank. And God is faithful to work out many transitions just like this one, so that ministry can continue for people impacted by disability around the world.

So, if you’re considering becoming a Chair Corps volunteer like Ken, pray! Ask the Lord to lead you and when He speaks to you, don’t hesitate. You might be just that perfect answer to someone else’s prayer! 

I thank Him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because He judged me faithful, appointing me to His service.” 1 Timothy 1:12


Volunteers, known as “Chair Corps”, collect used, but restorable, wheelchairs across the United States. If you have a heart to collect wheelchairs for people with disability around the world, we invite you to join our Chair Corps team!