Member Spotlight: Shelly Hoover, President and Co-Founder, and David Hoover, CEO and Co-Owner of Vets First DME, LLC
on August 25, 2021
Vets First DME began at the intersection of preparation and opportunity, with a dash of circumstance. Co-founder Shelly Hoover was a dynamic educator and fitness fanatic when she was diagnosed with ALS at age 47. ALS is a stunningly brutal, neurodegenerative disease that steals the ability to move, talk, eat, and breathe; most die within a few years. Although Shelly has lost her ability to move and is losing her ability to speak, she doesn’t let that stop her relentless advocacy for veterans like her living with ALS.
The VA recognizes ALS as 100% service-connected because US Veterans are two to ten times more likely to receive an ALS diagnosis than those who never served. The Veterans’ Health Administration provides the durable medical equipment Shelly needs to live the safest and most engaged life possible. While the equipment is first-rate, the companies delivering and installing the equipment were often not. That’s where her son, David, comes in.
Co-founder David Hoover was working as a trained motorcycle mechanic when his mom was diagnosed with ALS. He quickly discovered that his skills transferred to complex rehab and DME. David went to work for a DME company and was recruited by reputation to a startup company. His reputation is more than that of a skilled technician, he treats every veteran client with the care and respect he would give his own family member. That level of care and trust is priceless.
Three years later, three generations of Hoovers moved across the country so Shelly could be closer to experimental treatments. It was an all-or-none deal, and all three families made the move together. That presented the perfect opportunity to combine the family’s knowledge and experience to start Vets First DME, LLC.
As President and majority owner, Shelly is the face of the company and drives the company in the right direction to help as many people as possible. She also advocates for the rights of people with ALS. Shelly has her own website where she writes about ALS and even promotes her self-published books that she wrote using a special device on her chair where her eyes control everything.
“I feel alive when while I’m encouraging others to live their best life,” writes Shelly.
As CEO and co-owner, David runs the day-to-day activities of the business, he’s the certified technician and installer on the equipment, and he networks with the VA prosthetic representatives and occupational therapists, finding the best mobility and home safety solutions for veterans in their homes.
“We know, firsthand, what is needed to give someone more independence and feeling of safety in their home. We give everyone, veteran or not, with any disability the feeling of being heard and their concerns being addressed in the best way,” says David Hoover. “Our why is to make everyone feel understood, loved, and cared for to the best of our ability.”
One of the growing pains Vets First experienced is building a whole new network of VA contacts and manufacturer contacts on the other side of the country.
“We are confident that past performance, quality of care, and quality of work completed will heal this growing pain,” says David.
With a unique perspective and understanding from the Hoover family, Vets First DME strives every day to meet the unique needs of their clients and provide high-quality mobility solutions with expert care and quality service.
“Everyone deserves a chance to live their life the way they want to, and I can help them get some independence back when it's taken away,” says David. “As Mahatma Gandhi would say, ‘Be the change you wish to see in the world.’”
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