PARKER COUNTY, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – A volunteer-driven effort to help neighbors regain their mobility is nearing a milestone.
The Texas Ramp Project has been building donated wheelchair ramps for two decades.
“I talked to a lady in September and she told me she felt trapped in her house,” said Richard Riehm, the volunteer team coordinator for Parker County. “We get referrals from all over Parker County — people who are low income– people who disabled, who need help getting in and out of their house.”
Riehm says the Parker County volunteers build a ramp every three to four weeks and that same effort is happening across the state — and has been for 20 years.
“Sometime between now and the 15th of December, we’re gonna hit a milestone of hitting our 100th mile of ramp,” Riehm said.
That’s “a lot of people, lot of ramps,” joked volunteer Luke Crain, as the team gets busy building another ramp and deck in Springtown. The volunteers expect to find a mess when they arrive — after all, that’s why they’re there.
“The deck itself was sagging– stairs, you couldn’t even go up ’em,” said Crane, “not any kind of wheelchair ramp at all.”
But as the crews get to work, all that is about to change, while admitting that the fellowship is part of the fun.
“It’s really strong and fun to see,” said volunteer Rachel Knesek, a college student studying engineering, “them all laughing at each other.”
The fun is a bonus — as the effort, volunteers say, is ultimately an expression of their faith.
“And we have one mission,” said Riehm, his voice breaking and eyes filling with tears, “share in God’s love. Try to let people know that God cares about them and that’s what we do.”
Crane sums up the effort this way.
“It’s awesome… it really is. When we come up and we see these some of these ramps, these decks that are just barely holding together and when you walk away from it, they’ve got something that can last them a lifetime. It’s just awesome.”
Homeowner Tina Bawcum was moved to tears.
“I’d a probably fell down my steps if they hadn’t done this for me,” said Bawcum. “I love it so much… gonna make me be able to get in and out of my house and get my groceries and stuff in here and I don’t know how to thank ya’ll.”
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