On Tuesday we completed our 15th wheelchair ramp in 2016 for Shonna! She had a below-the-knee amputation in December. The past 6 months she has had to crawl up and down the stairs to her house. Shonna sat in her kitchen and watched all afternoon as volunteers built her ramp. Shonna was so excited she was going to be able to get out of her house. She said she has been stuck inside a majority of the time since the amputation, and is still adjusting to her prosthetic. Not having wheelchair access to and from her house limited her greatly. She said the amount of times she was able to get outside, even for a simple stroll down the sidewalk, was sparse. For her, she realized how much walking is taken for granted.
Last year we began partnering with Turnstone, a Fort Wayne not-for-profit disability service who seeks to meet the needs of physically disabled people and their families. They saw a need for ramps that would allow people with disabilities to stay in their existing homes. At that time, between NeighborLink and Turnstone, calls were coming in almost every day with requests for ramps.
Turnstone decided the dedicated volunteer groups NeighborLink had would be beneficial to the funding Turnstone was able to provide to make the vision possible, and to meet the needs of the physically disabled. NeighborLink and Turnstone began to see a way to work together to meet this need. This journey has allowed us to help this demographic in our community in a more tangible way. Our hope for these ramp projects is to better aide those like Shonna who are physically unable to help themselves in certain circumstances.
Our goal for 2016 is to build 30 ramps. With Shonna's as the 15th, and 18 more in the works, we are looking forward to helping more neighbors to achieve and exceed that goal. We are deeply grateful to our dedicated volunteers who have been offering their skills, time, and sometimes their own homes and garages to build ramps. We are thankful for Three Rivers Wesleyan Church for donating the use of their on-site building that we can now use for preliminary ramp construction. We have a great team of volunteers and partners that have helped bring these wheelchair ramps to life and execute the vision.
For neighbors like Shonna, this grant has met a need they were unable to provide themselves. We are so excited to see more of these projects being completed this summer!