Stories That Matter
You Gave Freedom to Over 100 People with Disabilities
“I knew we had to become involved when I learned about the growing need for ramps. Some couldn’t get out of their own homes; one lady hadn’t gone outside in nine months! Can you imagine that?” said Dwight Ingalsbe, 2011 Gift of Time Award Recipient.
Ingalsbe has built and coordinated volunteers to build over 100 wheelchair ramps over the past few years. “The joy on their faces touched my heart. Now they can safely access the world.”
Having the freedom to access the world safely means that people with a mobility disability can venture outside their homes and into the community for medical appointments, shopping, and socialization. Without them, they would have remained isolated in their own homes. All of the people who receive ramps have limited financial resources and could not afford to build on their own or to move to a more accessible home.
“I was not going out at all—only to church. Getting up and down the steps was hard work and now it is easier to get in and out,” said Jean about how life was before Ingalsbe’s team built her ramp. “There was a lot of ‘em here! They were putting in the ramp, washing windows, cleaning the floors, and they got it all done in one afternoon! They did a marvelous job! It was a big blessing!”
Each wheelchair ramp typically requires at least one full day and sometimes two full days of work. Without the help of volunteers, building a ramp can cost 40-60% more for labor. In the past year, Dwight volunteered over 150 hours to complete 15 ramp projects. While his volunteer groups totaled over 4,500 man-hours since 2008. Dwight’s volunteer workforce has reduced the waiting list for ramps from 4-5 years to only a few months.
“SCIL seems to be the most organized in getting something done to help people with disabilities,” said Dwight.
When an individual requests a ramp, the Southwest Center for Independent Living (SCIL) will survey the location, provide ADA compliant sketches and coordinate materials, volunteers or contractors.
“A team of volunteers built my ramp and I use it constantly with my power chair. Thank you, I couldn’t have bought the materials on my own and I don’t know anything about designing or building a ramp,” Mekelle, consumer who received a SCIL ramp built by Ingalsbe and Wesley United Methodist Church volunteers. “I don’t know what I’d do without the ramp to get in and out of my home.”
This past June, the Council of Churches recognized ten individuals from the community including Dwight Ingalsbe for utilizing his skills and technical expertise to provide wheelchair ramps and other home modifications and coordinating volunteer groups from Wesley Methodist Church for SCIL consumers.
“I didn’t feel deserving, but appreciate the honor they gave me,” said Dwight. He continues to go above and beyond in serving people who would remain isolated in the community without his help and motivates others to give of themselves to make our community a better place. Through his service and expertise in home modifications and volunteer coordination, he has provided countless volunteer hours to assist people with disabilities, making him worthy of a Gift of Time award.
If you are interested in volunteering with SCIL’s RAMPS program, give us a call at 417-886-1188 or email us above.