• 34°

Texas Ramp Project transforms lives throughout state

By Dawn Burleigh

In 1985, members of the Kiwanis Club of Richardson, Texas, were asked to build a wheelchair ramp for a friend. That initial effort, and the next, and the next, resulted in the Dallas Ramp Project and development of a system for providing wheelchair ramps to low-income people with disabilities in Dallas County, at no cost to the recipient, according to the history of the Texas Ramp Project.

With a group of 10 volunteers from Shelter Church in DeQuincy, the organization rebuilt a ramp for a resident in Orange on Saturday.

Initially, the plan was replacing the decking and ramp. However, as work began, it turned into a rebuild.

“With the water, it would happen again,” John Laine, with Texas Ramp Project, said. “This will prevent it from happening again.”

The organization is also set to build a ramp for a woman in Groves whose door is 18 inches above the ground.

“She is in her house until we can get there and build a ramp,” Laine said.

Laine has been with the organization building ramps for 31 years.

“In 1985, we saw we were solving a pretty serious need,” Laine said. “We partner with churches and teach them how to build a ramp.”

What started as the Kiwanis Club of Richardson building one – five ramps a year, turned into 25 a month.

Twenty years later, the Dallas Ramp Project had built over 1,400 ramps, and it became obvious that the entire state could benefit from this volunteer ramp-building model. Thus, a new statewide nonprofit called the Texas Ramp Project was incorporated in June 2006, according to www.texasramps.org

To date, more than 18,000 ramps have been built by the organization at no cost to those in need.

“We do not accept direct referrals,” Laine said. “Referrals must come from a third-party health care provider. They are prevetted before they get to us. Health care providers know how to find us.”

The organization is working on having teams in every area of the state.

“We have a data base that let’s us know the status of every request since 2013,” Laine added.

For those interested in volunteering, visit  https://www.texasramps.org/volunteer/

Laine said he is glad to have the opportunity to be a part of the organization.

“Good Lord put it in my path,” Laine said. “I am not Mr. Fix It, but I can build a ramp.”