Volunteer-Built Wheelchair Ramps Free Some Stuck at Home

Mar 20, 2013

More

For some, life in seaside St. Augustine in St. Johns County, Florida consists of nothing more than sitting in their homes. These people have a variety of disabilities that affect their mobility–disabilities that are leaving them trapped inside their homes because they do not have wheelchair ramps and cannot afford to build them on their own. One group of volunteers is working tirelessly to change that.

The group, called the Ex-Factor, is made up of ex-employees of the St. Johns Housing Partnership, which previously built ramps for people who needed them. The St. Johns Housing Partnership laid the workers off due to government cutbacks. Rather than being bitter, these former employees fought back with kindness.

St. Johns Housing Partnership Builds Wheelchair Ramps for Disabled in Need

As a volunteer member of Ex-Factor, Harold Clemons, who used to get paid for building ramps, pays for the supplies out of his savings, covers gas to get to the site, and loses valuable time from job searching. He does this because the county has “people really in need. I mean, we’re helping people get in and out of their house,” Clemons explained, noting that he is actively looking for work, but can’t ignore those in need.

Volunteer Build Wheelchair Ramps in St. Johns County Florida

The people whom the Ex-Factor have helped include Jack Halcomb, a U.S. Navy veteran with a service-related injury that has seriously affected his knees. He wears braces on both legs and was recently told he needs to use a wheelchair. For him, the stairs on his mobile home are dangerous.

“I’ve had a few incidents where I fell off the stairs,” Halcomb recalled. “I try not to go out if I don’t have to. I pretty much stay at home,” he noted.

Jack Halcomb Had Dangerous Steps Before Volunteers Built Wheelchair Ramp

That should all change now, as the Ex-Factor teamed up with volunteers from Trinity Episcopal in St. Augustine and built a new wheelchair ramp. The Sertoma Club paid for the supplies, which Halcomb said he could not have afforded otherwise.

“I live on a fixed income. Between what little I get from the VA and from Social Security, it’s barely enough to get by,” Halcomb stated.

St. Johns Ex-Factor Volunteer Team and Trinity Episcopal Build Wheelchair Ramps

Now that he has his new Ex-Factor wheelchair ramp, life has indeed changed for Halcomb. “It provides me a lot of freedom. It’s freedom I normally wouldn’t have had.”

This group is off to a great start, but another 20 people with disabilities are on the waiting list for wheelchair ramps in St. Johns County alone, and there are more than 100 people just to the north in Duval County also in need of Ex-Factor help. They range from veterans, to the elderly, to those born with a disability and other who are adjusting to new disabilities caused by accident or illness.

Because each ramp costs about $1,500 to build, even with volunteers doing the labor, the St. Johns Housing Partnership is actively seeking volunteers and donations to meet the demand.

Do you have a similar program or extraordinary group of volunteers like the Ex-Factor in your community?

Source:
firstcoastnews.com/news/article/277460/3/Volunteers-construct-wheelchair-ramps-for-people-trapped-at-home

Video source:
firstcoastnews.com

Image sources:
staugustine.com
stjohnsrealtors.com
pontevedra.firstcoastnews.com

About the author

Jill Liphart
Jill Liphart

Jill is a writer, blogger, social media and Internet marketer, work-at-home, single mom of 5. She provides news about issues that are important to people with disabilities, their loved ones, disability advocates and their friends.

Related Posts

6 Comments

  1. Deborah Cramer
    June 26, 2013

    Do you know of anywhere around coastal NC that builds ramps. I really need one.

  2. Karl Albright
    March 07, 2014

    I am in south MS and have only one way in or out my residence. The ramp was built to be temporary. By FEMA. As you can imagine the ramp is rotted and very, very dangerous. I am unable to find assistants.If you have any advice it would be greatly appreciated.

    • March 10, 2014

      Hi, Karl! We’re sorry you’re having difficulty. There’s an organization in Mississippi—The Mississippi Society for Disabilities—and that offers assistance in situations like yours. It’s certain worth a call or email to them to see if they can help. Good luck, and thanks for following our blog!

  3. SCOTT
    August 18, 2014

    HAY SIRS MY Wife is not able to get out of house no ramp can”t Aford .Do youal know of someone IN EAST TX ?????? ANY INFO MAY HEPP

Leave a reply