BONDS OF FRIENDSHIP — Teamwork creates wheelchair ramp access for woman in need

Published 12:22 am Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

A congregation of friends, family and non-profit organizations gathered recently around Sandra Mahoney on her new ramp that was built with donations and volunteers.

The Bowling Lane resident in Orange provided a homemade lunch to show her gratitude, and the group prayed and blessed the ramp in memory of their beloved friend, Van Jordan.

“I’m an elderly woman with health issues,” Mahoney said. “I needed a ramp because I also take care of my daughter, who is wheelchair-bound, because she lost both her legs. It was hard enough for me to get around on my own, and then it became harder when it came to taking my daughter out of the house to attend her dialysis treatment three days a week.”

Mahoney said she tried reaching out to nonprofits on her own but no one could help her.

“I called my brother, Jessie, who lives in San Antonio, and he reached out to a network of people who all shared a common friend, Van Jordan. This is important to note because Van Jordan is deceased.”

Jordan’s reputation for his love for the community lived on in all who knew him, and that bond was fortified even after death.

“At Van’s funeral, he was remembered as a friend that everyone spoke to everyday,” said Sandra Womack. “It is astounding that he could get anything accomplished if he was on the phone with friends throughout the day.”

Supporters and contributors stand with Sandra Mahoney on her recently installed wheelchair ramp. (Sierra Kondos/Special to the Leader)

Jessie reached out to Womack, who knew a friend and they knew a friend. The friend connection spread in the name of Van Jordan.

“Each friend represented an ingredient to the recipe I had been craving,” she said. “The companies that came my aid were Nehemiah’s Vision, Orange County Disaster Rebuild and World Renew Volunteers.”

Nehemiah’s Vision funded the project.

“This was a perfect partnership,” said Marcelo Molfino, executive director of Nehemiah’s Vision.

World Renew Disaster Services is a Canadian non-profit that sends a group of volunteers to work in Orange at three-week intervals.

“This project came together in a unique way,” said Fred Spoelstra, construction manager for World Renew Disaster Services. “Our company offers a range of services from clean-up to reconstruction from across the United States and Canada. World Renew DRS is dedicated to helping disaster survivors in Christ’s name. Marcelo and his group funded the project, and they reached out to us to help build the ramp.”

The project took two days to complete.

“This ramp was so much more than just some wood and screws to the Mahoney family,” Marcelo said. “Mrs. Sandra told me that it was a true blessing when people show up and give you your sense of mobility and freedom back. I am just so blessed and thankful. We are so glad to partner with amazing organizations that truly want to serve our community.”

The recipe for friendship is equal parts compassion, kindness, listening and love. The role Van Jordan played in his life was that of a loyal friend who shared his recipe with those who would carry his legacy on to the next generation.

— Written by Sierra Kondos