The Texas Ramp Project helps the elderly and those with mobility issues by building wheelchair ramps for free.
Sherrie Howard lives with rheumatoid arthritis and COPD.
“You know you can’t breath and you’re searching for air,” said Howard.
For Howard, every breath is a struggle and a single step can seem impossible.
The risk of maneuvering a walker and an oxygen tank down her front porch stairs often left her confined, forcing her to miss doctor appointments and simple activities if no one was around to help her.
“I have fallen several times,” said Howard.
That all changed when volunteers from the Texas Ramp Project arrived at her Irving home last weekend.
Every Saturday they go where they’re needed most, installing wheelchair ramps for the elderly or those with mobility issues for free.
“It is one of the few things we can do in a half day that has profound influence on people’s lives,” said volunteer Don Emmerich.
In North Texas, the group has installed 4,400 ramps. Statewide volunteers have built 14,000 ramps.
“It’s a lot of wood and a lot of hours,” said Emmerich.
But the group counts their success in the number of lives changed and point to a recent video taken in West Texas.
“We had a picture of an actual house on fire that had a ramp we built,” said Emmerich. “And part of the film showed the caregiver wheeling the client out of the burning house.”
The video drives home the difference a ramp can make in someone’s life, especially when seconds matter.
For Sherrie Howard, the ramp is an answered prayer.
“This is heaven sent,” said Howard. “It’s totally a heaven thing. When God says, ‘Ok you need some help,’ he sends the best.’”
She can now take trips outside her home with no fear of falling thanks to the hands and hearts others.
“It’s freedom. It means freedom for me,” said Howard.