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Aspiro replaces five buses lost in fire

Aspiro new buses
Posted at 5:21 PM, May 04, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-04 18:21:14-04

GREEN BAY (NBC 26) — When a fire destroyed local non-profit Aspiro’s entire fleet of buses earlier this year, Nicole Hoffman, Aspiro's vice president of development, says the organization was left scrambling. 

We first covered this story when the fire broke out on February 28. Hoffman says she got the call at around 1:30 a.m.

"When we arrived, the fire was already out and what remained was the charred frames of the buses," Hoffman said.

The fire destroyed five buses in total, causing just under $500,000 in damages. It also left the non-profit without a way to provide transportation for all of its clients.

As one of the largest disability service providers in the Green Bay area, Aspiro gives clients transportation to get to work, volunteer in the community, and go on recreational outings.

But Hoffman says their devastation after the fire quickly turned into gratitude. The community immediately rallied around them. In just under one month, the organization raised the funds to replace all of the lost buses.

“Almost immediately, the GoFundMe raised $128,000, we had the insurance proceeds, and then the remaining came from private donors," Hoffman said.

Two new buses arrived on April 4. The non-profit also purchased a previously owned bus, and two additional buses are set to arrive this fall.

Joe Stocks, who manages Aspiro's community exploration department, says the buses will be used for Aspiro's "group support employment" and "building full lives" programs.

“We’re going out bowling, we’re going swimming, we’re taking big groups out in the community, really soon we’re going to be starting a lot of our outdoor programming in the summer," Stocks said.

Hoffman says the non-profit is overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and is glad to get back to its mission of connecting clients with their community and providing accessible transportation to those who need it.

"We’re in the business of making things possible," Hoffman said. "So we never wanted the fact that someone could not get into the vehicle to be a reason they were not able to participate."