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Texas Ramp Project local chapter needs a boost to build more

Texas Ramp Project

Volunteers of the local chapter of the Texas Ramp Project build a ramp for the Proctor family in Kingsland. The ramp is one of more than 100 that have been built for families residing in Burnet, Llano, and Blanco counties. Photo by Stennis Shotts

The Highland Lakes chapter of the Texas Ramp Project needs financial help to continue building free ramps for families in need. The project’s bottom line has been hit hard by COVID-19’s effect on the economy, said Don Barlow, the local coordinator for Burnet, Llano, and Blanco counties.

“We lost two of our grants; they didn’t come through,” he said. “And the price of wood almost doubled.”  

Currently, it costs $35 per foot to build a ramp that’s 43 feet long. The ramp can be built in about 4 1/2 hours thanks to the 10-12 volunteers on site. Before the pandemic, it cost $25 per foot. 

The benefits to families in need cannot be measured, said Joni Proctor of Kingsland. Joni looks after her parents, Glenda and William Proctor. Glenda recently began using a wheelchair, and William isn’t far behind. 

“She was actually giddy and giggling,” Joni said of her mother’s reaction to the ramp. “She said, ‘This is so nice. I don’t have to worry about falling and needing the fire department’s assistance.’”

The local chapter of the Texas Ramp Project has built more than 100 ramps since 2011. More than 20,000 ramps have been built across the state since the Texas Ramp Project launched in 2008.

“I was praying on it,” Joni said of the newly built ramp that has granted her parents greater mobility.

Joni has also suffered economically from the coronavirus pandemic. She praised the group for its efficiency. A social worker from a clinic called the Texas Ramp Project about the Proctor family, who were struggling to pay even their utilities. 

“Less than an hour later, they called me,” Joni said. “They built the ramp within two weeks.”

She could see the ramp’s impact on her parents immediately.

“They have brought us the most amazing gift we could have,” Joni said. “It gave them freedoms they have lost months ago. They’ve been unable to leave the home without assistance for months.”

Families should ask their social worker or healthcare provider to visit Texas Ramp Project’s website to request a ramp on their behalf, which is the best way to get hammers swinging as quickly as possible.

After the request is made, ramp leaders will conduct interviews and home visits. 

Barlow said nothing screams the need louder for a ramp than a photo of a home on fire where a resident is being pushed out of the dwelling while sitting in a wheelchair.

“I have a heart for these people,” Barlow said. “These people are stuck inside their homes; they’re trapped. It’s also a safety situation.”

To donate to the Texas Ramp Project, click on the Donate button on this webpage. Look for a space in the middle of the page that reads “designation.” Donors who want their money to stay in Burnet, Llano, and Blanco counties should type “Austin West,” the official name of the local chapter of the Texas Ramps Project, in that space. 

jfierro@thepicayune.com

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