• Most of us take for granted the steps leading into our homes, but for someone needing to get in or out of their homes with a wheelchair or walker, those steps become prison walls to them.• The vision for TRP is that every Texan who needs a wheelchair ramp should have a wheelchair ramp.• The TRP mission is simple. They create and support organizations that build wheelchair ramps for Texans who cannot afford them – to free them from being homebound and get them out into the community.• The TRP model is simple. Local ramp organizations receive the names of people who need ramps through referrals from a range of different sources, prioritize the need, and guild the ramps without charge to the client. These organizations are all voluntary and not for profit, and they operate without bureaucracy.• TRP provides all tools necessary to build the ramps. They provided: miter saw with a portable stand, reciprocating saw, skill saw, tape measures, heavy duty electric drill, five portable battery powered drills with extra batteries and chargers, tool box, extension cords, and other miscellaneous tools.• TRP pays for all materials to build a ramp, such as: lumber (all treated), treated plywood, screws, bolts, stiffeners, metal landing plates, paint primer and non-skid paint.• Where does all this money come from to pay for the ramps you ask? From contributions from churches, organizations businesses, individuals, grants, and foundations.• Workers that build the ramps are all volunteers. We start building a ramp on a Saturday morning and we are usually finished 5-7 hours later, depending on the number of volunteers that can make it that particular day. You do not have to have carpenter skills or experience because we will teach you. Believe me, it is pretty simple. If you can use a drill, you are qualified because everything is screwed together, no nails. Most all of the volunteers for Bandera County and part of Medina County are from Bandera United Methodist Church and Boy Scout Troup 146 and their leaders from our church.• As you can see, BUMC is very committed to this mission of helping those in need of a ramp but cannot afford one. BUMC has funded 100% of the cost to build three ramps to date, plus anytime we run short on something to finish a ramp, BUMC has an account at Hevenor Hardware that we charge to so we can complete the ramp without having to go back through TRP and get the approval.• Here are a few stats: o TRP was founded in 2006 and since has built over 10,000 ramps statewide. o Bandera’s TRP Organization was started here at BUMC in 2012 by Guy Wolf and volunteers from BUMC. Since then TRP has built 26 ramps for people in Bandera and part of Medina County that were in need of a ramp.
Now let me ask you a question. Have you ever changed a person’s life in a single day? The TRP does it hundreds of times a year! They build wheelchair ramps for disabled or elderly people who cannot afford to pay for one. In a few hours on a Saturday morning, TRP gives these folks the freedom to leave their home again, freeing them from the steps that had imprisoned them.
• If you would like to know more or volunteer, contact the church office or Larry Shoemaker (409.673.4244), or go to www.TexasRamps.org to learn more and how to donate or start an organization.• My last question to you is “What are you doing on Saturday morning?”• When you see the smiles on the people you have built a ramp for, you will be back for the next build.