Ron Fritch, a double amputee who uses a power chair to get around, enjoys getting out of the house and going to church or even eating out in Shawnee, but he especially likes going to Braum's for some ice cream now and again.

Ron Fritch, a double amputee who uses a power chair to get around, enjoys getting out of the house and going to church or even eating out in Shawnee, but he especially likes going to Braum's for some ice cream now and again.

After a thief stole his power chair accessible Dodge Caravan in Shawnee earlier this week, Ron has been homebound, but he says he is praying the stolen van will be found and still in good shape.

His wife, Linda Fritch, said the generosity of others helped them purchase the 2000-model gold van back in 2016 after both of Ron's legs were amputated following an illness.

At that time, his power chair wouldn't fit into her small car so the couple, who spent more than 17 years as missionaries doing fulfilling work in South Africa, prayed something would work itself out, she said.

“We made up our minds he was not going to be bedfast,” Linda said, adding they wanted to keep Ron living an active life where he could stay connected to people.

She said “the Lord impressed” on many churches in the Oklahoma City area to help through a GoFundMe account. Two weeks later, $6,000 was raised to purchase the used van that has helped him live a much fuller life for the past two years.

Linda said they used the van every Sunday to go to church in Shawnee, while also getting out and making a drive around town, or maybe stopping to eat a bite at his favorite place, Cracker Barrel, or going for a sweet treat of ice cream.

It was little trips, but the built-in ramp on the van worked perfectly for him to roll his power chair inside, strap in and go without having to transfer seats.

Although the van model is 18 years old, she said it worked for them and got them where they needed to go.

Since it's been stolen, they're not sure what they're going to do just yet, but they will have to find another mode of  transportation for him. For now, they are still holding out hope the van may be found.

 “We're seeing if it will turn up,” she said. “He can't live the rest of his life parked in this house.”

 The couple retired from their missionary travels in 2007 and moved to Shawnee to be near children living here. Linda also was born and raised in Shawnee.

A report on the stolen van was filed with Shawnee police. The van was taken from a caregiver's home in the 500 block of South Park on the morning of July 30. The tag number is GGE-865 and there are stickers on the back windows that say “Rollx,” Linda said, which is the name of the wheelchair ramp equipment that it is equipped with.

Anyone with information on the van or possible suspects is asked to call police, 405-273-2122.