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Voting continues for Watertown deputy town clerk to win a handicapped-accessible van

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WATERTOWN — You have until May 9 to vote to help Watertown Deputy Town Clerk Pamela D. Desormo win a handicapped-accessible van through a national contest.

She and 1,300 handicapped people across the country are competing to win four vans through the Tampa Bay, Fla.-based National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association. So far, she has garnered 12,166 votes.

“I think it’s awesome that so many people have taken the time and remembered to vote for me,” she said.

Mrs. Desormo has no idea how the number of votes match up with the other 1,300 people involved in the contest. However, she remains hopeful that she will be one of the finalists.

A panel of judges will review the stories of the contestants and select from the top 10 percent of vote-getters after online voting ends May 9. She’ll hear on May 30 if she’s won. To vote, visit Mobiliyawarenessmonth.com.

Since becoming wheelchair-bound nearly two years ago, the 49-year-old has relied on rides from family and friends to and from work, to go grocery shopping and to get to the school events of her 10-year-old daughter, Haylee.

Paralyzed from the waist down, Mrs. Desormo also needs help to get into and out of the car every time she goes somewhere.

The dealers association sponsors the contest, now in its third year, to promote mobility awareness and make others mindful of the changing ways the world views people with disabilities. More than 18 million people in North America are living with restrictive mobility issues, according to the organization.

Voting is open to the public, and at least four customized, wheelchair-accessible vehicles will be awarded to the “Local Hero” winners.

Last year, more than 2.3 million votes were tallied, with residents in Lexington, Ky., Villa Park, Ill., and Victoria, British Columbia, receiving prize vehicles.

This year, two Toyota Siennas, a Dodge Caravan and a Mobility Venture MV-1 will be given away.

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