Disabled Teen Recives Hero's Welcome at Volo Auto Museum

For immediate release


Contact: Rick Schultz, assistant director, Volo Auto Museum

(815) 385-3644; rick@volocars.com


Disabled teen receives heros welcome

 at Volo Auto Museum


VOLO The smile on 19-year-old Dawn Kennisons face as she rode off in KITT Wednesday was as high wattage as the star cars many blinking lights.


It was a brief but triumphant ride for Kennison, a resident of Pardeeville, Wis., who has cerebral palsy and is wheelchair bound. The Volo Auto Museum honored Kennison and her mother, Naomi Kennison, Wednesday after their story persuaded the owners, the Grams family, to withdraw KITT from a recent online auction.


Museum Director Brian Grams estimated the car a detailed exhibit model based on the 1980s Knight Rider series would draw between $35,000 and $40,000 during the auction that took place on eBay Nov. 1-8.


Then came a phone call and a visit from Naomi and Dawn Kennison.


For Dawn, who has visited the museum on Volo Village Road with her mom at least once a year for the past several years, KITT is particularly heroic. The thought of being unable to see the car during her treasured treks south came as a severe blow, her mother said.


The character represented by this replica stood in the show as a standard for fairness, justice, and protection of weaker members of society, Naomi Kennison said in addressing journalists on hand for exhibit rededication activities Wednesday.


The integrity of the character resonated with Dawn, who by the very nature of her disability has been subjected to limitations imposed upon her not only by her physical disability, but also through the unfairness of discrimination.


Grams and Kennison said they initially talked about the Kennisons buying KITT. But the single mother faces significant costs associated with Dawns disability, and the prospect of winning a bidding war seemed unlikely. Grams talked it over with other family members, and they agreed not only to withdraw the car from the auction, but also to re-establish the exhibit in Dawn Kennisons honor.


The Kennisons traveled more than three hours Wednesday to be present as the car, which had been in storage, was restored to its spot on view. Grams also provided lifetime museum memberships to the Kennisons before taking Dawn for a short ride in her hero car.


Dawn was talking about the car on the way down and she is just so excited, said Linda Brock, a family friend from Fontana, Wis., who joined the Kennisons Wednesday. You dont have these days very often.


Dawn Kennison said she never will forget Wednesdays events.


Being a person with a disability is really hard, she said. This means a lot to me.