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David Braaten of rural Sunburg demonstrates the lift he invented to help give people a boost out of a wheelchair. The invention, called "The Helper," won him a gold medal at this month's Minnesota Inventors Congress in Redwood Falls. It was also named the best health care or medical invention and earned the second-place award from Minnesota AgrAbility Project. (Tribune photos by Carolyn Lange)

'The Helper'

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It pained David Braaten to no end to watch his elderly parents struggle to get out of a wheelchair.

Equally troubling was seeing how physically challenging it was for nursing home aides -- often petite young women -- who used straps or belts and risked back injury to themselves to help people move from a wheelchair to a standing position.

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Carolyn Lange
A reporter for more than 30 years, Carolyn Lange covers county government and regional news with the West Central Tribune.
(320) 894-9750
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