The morning was crisp and there were several large dark clouds in the sky. That did not diminish the excitement and anticipation felt by Carol Wilcox and her sister Mary about this long awaited day. On Saturday, October 2nd, the Lowe’s team was coming to Fulton to build a ramp for the Wilcox Family as their Heroes Project.
As the Lowe’s staff arrived, they were greeted by the volunteers of the First United Methodist Church of Oswego. The First United Methodist Church has been building ramps for ARISE consumers for several years now and are experts in doing these projects. They had graciously agreed to work side by side with the Lowe’s team to complete this important project. According to Glen Suckling, the engineer who has done every ramp build project, “this is the longest ramp we have ever constructed!”
Her sister Mary’s health issues led Carol Wilcox to welcome her into her home, but the two sets of steps at the entrance to the home were impossible for Mary to negotiate. Carol often has other family members visit who struggle with the steps as well. So, after a call to ARISE, the “Ramp People” (First United Methodist Church) went into action, designing and building the modular components needed for this ramp. Then, in partnership with ARISE, the Lowe’s Oswego Store chose to build this ramp as its Heroes Project.
Twenty volunteers worked throughout the day to assist in the project that provided life-changing assistance to this family. It was a long day, filled with the challenges of building a ramp on ground that sloped one way and then pitched in another direction. It was a ramp that somehow seemed to take on a life of its own to offer challenges to the builders.
As the day went on, the sweatshirts came off and time passed quickly as they worked hard to complete this large and complex project. These groups of people that had never worked together before did not allow this challenging project to get the best of them. They remained positive and focused, and at the end of the day, people who had been strangers in the morning went home with the shared experience of a successful build.
They had met the challenge of constructing this monumental ramp, and they each felt the satisfaction of knowing that their efforts had made a tremendous difference for this family. The work of these groups had given a special gift: independence and safe access for all members of the Wilcox Family.
ARISE continues to be extremely grateful for the long, hard hours that the members of the First United Methodist Church put in almost every weekend to change lives – one family at time. We are also very thankful to the Lowe’s Oswego Store for stepping up to the plate and taking on this task.
ARISE currently has nineteen families on a waiting list for ramps. For information on how you can help, please contact Jim Karasek at 342-4088 ext. 206. Are you part of ARISE? If not, why not?