COITSVILLE, Ohio (WKBN) – The Purple Cat has been helping Valley residents living with disabilities for almost two decades. Their farm in Coitsville allows clients to work with animals and spend time in nature.
In the last year, they’ve expanded the space for even more of their clients, those bound to wheelchairs.
The Purple Cat at Farmer Casey’s Ranch is a place for anyone with disabilities to work, learn and grow with nature.
“Trying to get our folks more in-tune to nature, you know? A lot of times just because they were labeled disabled people thought they don’t have an interest in it or they can’t learn about it, but oh my gosh, they’re rabid in their learning,” said Jimmy Sutman, owner of The Purple Cat.
After more than a year, their latest project is finally finished: a path that goes around the entire lake, making it accessible for anyone in a wheelchair.
“I don’t know if you could put a price on somebody that’s sitting in a wheelchair. I don’t know because I’m not that person, but getting into the woods, you know, and being able to get to see the fall foliage this time of year, go right into an animal pen,” Sutman said.
The Mahoning Valley Hospital Foundation helped fund the project. But for Sutman, he says you can’t put a price on his clients’ happiness.
“Our population doesn’t really have a voice a lot of times. So it takes some good people to say, ‘You’ve gotta spend this money. You don’t understand its worth. It’s worth it!'” Sutman said.
Sutman said he knew it was all worth it after wheeling a long-time client across the new bridge for the first time.
“He was beaming… ‘I’m gonna tell everybody I’m in the woods,’ and I’m like, ‘Yes you are, you’re in the woods,'” Sutman said.