WOOD COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) - They operate under the motto Building Freedom for the Homebound, and now another East Texan has that freedom.
On Thursday, volunteers with the Holly Lake Ranch Kiwanis Club completed another ramp at a home in Wood County. The ramp is part of a collaboration between the Holly Lake Ranch Kiwanis Club, the Church of Christ at Holly Lake Ranch and the Texas Ramp Project.
Tom Lewis is the team leader on the project. He said this ramp is No. 65 for his team. A second team working in the Mineola area of Wood County is closing in on its 100th ramp. Both teams have been building ramps for about five years, according to Lewis.
“It’s really enjoyable because we get to work with the guys and have fun and tease each other, but we also get to give back to the people that can’t afford to have a ramp,” Lewis said.
Each ramp project starts with an application submitted to TexasRamps.org — a group that provides ramps for disabled and elderly people who can’t afford them. Doctors, home health care workers or social workers submit the applications on behalf of the person in need.
The property is then surveyed and the work begins. The Texas Ramp Project provides most of the money for materials and the Kiwanis Club volunteers provide the labor.
Lewis said each recipient reacts differently, but the end result is always the same — freedom to get in and out of their home.
“Some people cry they’re so happy. Some people don’t show very much emotion, but you know they’re really, really happy," Lewis said. "One ramp we did for a lady, and we got all done, and when we get done we say a prayer and bless the ramp, bless the home and bless the people. After we were all done and had everything packed away and we were getting ready to leave, I asked her if she wanted help getting back into the house. She says, ‘Oh no. I haven’t been outside in a long time. I’m staying out here.'”
George Hansen, president of the Holly Lake Ranch Kiwanis Club, said building the ramps falls in line with the Kiwanis Club’s main purpose of community service.
"They can adequately and safely get into their homes, and we’ve had a lot of positive feedback from those people. We will meet them out in the community, and they will recognize us and then they thank us,” Hansen said.
Click here to find out more information about the Texas Ramp Project and to help make future projects possible.
“We’re just thankful. God blessed us to be able to do this. We’re all retirees. We’re 70s, 80s and we just come out here and have a good time,” Lewis said. “Keeps us young.”