founded in Pennsylvania by J. Edward Van Artsdalen. In 1921, Ed's
grandfather started the Van Artsdalen Express, a successful freight
hauler that continued to grow while managed by Ed's father, J. Preston
Van Artsdalen joined the company in 1972, just as it was
restructured to operate school buses instead of trucks. Although
the fleet grew to 280 buses serving a dozen public and private schools,
the emphasis was not on rapid growth or size, but on quality
and personal commitment to service in transportation.
the groups that requested specialized transportation services and
group outings, one in particular appeared to be poorly served by
the transportation industry: people using wheelchairs. There was
a definite market demand for this specialized service and providing
this service nationally could best be achieved with a network of
franchised businesses. Thus Wheelchair Getaways® was
1994 the company was purchased by J.Stewart and Jean Gatewood,
incorporated in Kentucky and the corporate office moved to Versailles.
Gatewood brought to the company his experience in personal and human
relations and a specialized knowledge of franchises. After leading
the company through its important early years, Stewart retired in
1998, but Wheelchair Getaways stayed in the family.
Wheelchair Getaways is owned by Richard Gatewood and Moon Ko and
continues operations from Versailles, Kentucky. Although there have
been changes in ownership, Wheelchair Getaways has been a proven
leader in accessible van rental for over a decade and will continue
to lead the industry in years ahead.