Habitat for Humanity, church help Hayden senior
Volunteers build wheelchair ramp for Randy Clark
May 18, 2011
For more information about Routt County Habitat for Humanity or to sign up to volunteer on a summer project, visit http://www.routtcohabitat.org.
Steamboat Springs — Hayden resident Randy Clark can get a tan now, if he wants.
As of Saturday, he can steer his power wheelchair out the front door of his trailer and down a fresh wooden wheelchair ramp built last weekend by volunteers from Concordia Lutheran Church in conjunction with Routt County Habitat for Humanity.
"His comment was he was in jail before and now he's free," said Clare Tarcha, administrative assistant at the church. "It was pretty sad that he couldn't get out. We wanted to be able to give him some freedom."
It took two full days last week to build the ramp, which was part of a volunteer event called Join Hands Day through Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, a financial services company.
Tarcha, secretary of the Rabbit Ears Pass chapter of Thrivent, said Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Jody Patten passed along Clark's information.
"Randy didn't fit our model for Habitat," Patten said. "But the church embraced the project. They just ran with it, and it was great.
"Especially in the case of a really low income senior who's on fixed income, that's a great solution. It was one of those great, 'If there's a will, there's a way,' and the community found a way."
Habitat provided volunteer resources and helped bring the ramp project through the planning process.
Caleb Simon and Karolyn Zuehlke, of Steamboat Architectural Associates, drew up and donated the ramp plans, and Hayden waived the permit fees. The Hayden Lions Club donated $200 worth of lumber, and Thrivent funded the rest of the project.
"I think it's important for youth and adults to work together and give back to the community and show love to other people," Tarcha said about the project, which included 11 volunteers of all ages. "I think it's a good experience."
In addition to Clark's ramp, about five more volunteers worked in Milner and Steamboat Springs on Saturday finishing up painting projects from fall's Habitat for Humanity Brush with Kindness effort.
Patten said that she hopes to launch more Brush with Kindness projects this summer and that Habitat has grant money available to fix roofs on two trailers. Homeowners in the community with needs such as painting or roofing can contact Habitat to see whether they are eligible for the projects.
In the more distant future, Patten said Habitat has its sights on a bedroom addition for a family in Oak Creek and a duplex in Riverside.
Habitat always is looking for volunteers. Visit http://www.routtcohabitat.org to sign up for upcoming projects.
— To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email ninglis@SteamboatToday.com