2012-10-02 / Front Page

SAWs Mission Expands Into Owen County Thanks To Grant

Volunteers, People In Need Of Ramps Now Needed For Program
by Michael Stanley
Staff Writer

C loverdale residents Ronald and Sharon Freeman were recipients over the summer months of 2012 of a newly-constructed ramp from SAWs. 
(Courtesy Photo) C loverdale residents Ronald and Sharon Freeman were recipients over the summer months of 2012 of a newly-constructed ramp from SAWs. (Courtesy Photo) Thanks to grant monies awarded through the Owen County Community Foundation, a Greencastlebased mission has plans to expand its services to Owen County residents in need of handicap ramps, low-rise steps and safety rails.

The mission of the initiative is to construct quality removable and reusable wooden wheelchair ramps for community members unable to afford the expense. Organizer John Anderson of the Greencastle Presbyterian Church explained that many of the people they help are imprisoned inside their own homes.

“This is our fourth year building ramps and we got started after a friend of mine called over from Second Presbyterian in Indy – they’ve been doing ramps and things in Marion County for about 10 years,” Anderson said. “He called up and asked our pastor if we would be interested in help building a ramp, because they didn’t want to drive all the way to Greencastle. That first ramp was kind of a first experience for all of us. The next year came around and one of our members needed a ramp, so from there we started putting the news out that we wanted to help people.”

Clients are interviewed to determine need based on income, medical expenses, number of family members in the residence and the urgency of their condition. A detailed design is provided to volunteers in accordance with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) specifications for the ramp to be built.

The organization built nine ramps in their first year, 20 in 2011 and 17 so far in 2012.

Depending on the design of the ramp, each project comes with a cost of between $400 and $1,000, bringing the need for financial support from the community. Volunteers are also needed to help build ramps for projects here in Owen County.

The recent grant awarded through the Owen County Community Foundation totaled $300 for materials.

“One of us from our group would act as a leader and others would help at first, then hopefully we could get people familiar with how to build the ramps,” Anderson said. “Then we need to find funding. And lastly, people who need us. You can’t appreciate why we do this until you’re standing at the end of the ramp we just built and watch the people come down it. The majority of the people we build ramps for are truly trapped in their homes. They sit inside their home by themselves all day and wait for somebody to come help them. When we get them to where they can come out by themselves, you can’t believe the look of joy; tears of joy run down the faces of a lot of them... that’s what keeps us all going to do this.”

The group has hopes of joining forces with the Spencer Presbyterian Church.

“We’re getting close to the end of our season this year; we try to finish up before Thanksgiving,” Anderson added. “We have some qualification rules based on income, but one thing I want everyone to understand is that we will do everything we can to get somebody a ramp. We also have a program for people who can afford a ramp, where we ask them to buy the materials and give us a donation so they can support somebody else.”

The effort is a cooperative program between the Second Presbyterian Church and St. Lukes United Methodist Church of Indianapolis and the Greencastle Presbyterian Church.

Anyone interested in volunteering, donating, or if you know of someone in need of the organization’s assistance, contact the Greencastle Presbyterian Church at 765-653-5713.

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