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Helping the Disabled Out of Their Homes

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Courtesy of SAWs Virginia
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The Americans with Disabilities Act was passed almost 30 years ago. And since then public spaces and businesses have become much more accessible. But that doesn’t mean anything to someone who can’t make it out of their home.

Glenn Martin is a retired firefighter. He injured his back rescuing a toddler during a fire. He now lives in rural Caroline County with his wife and brother-in-law. His wife’s diminished eyesight makes it difficult for her to use stairs, and his brother-in-law recently had a leg amputation.

The family were the first recipients of a new ramp, built at their home by volunteers with SAW, or Servants at Work. It’s a nationwide faith-based nonprofit that builds wheelchair ramps.

Charlie Russell recently founded Virginia’s first chapter in the Fredericksburg area.  He says census numbers show that the demand is real.

“There’s about 25,720 people who identify as having a disability,” Russell explains. That includes Caroline, King George, Stafford and Spotsylvania counties.

In fact during the lunch break of their first build this week a woman asked some of his volunteers about their shirts, which say ‘Ramps Open Doors.’

“When they told what we do and what we were doing she almost burst into tears because she needs a ramp for her mother,” say Russell.

She’s been added to an already growing list of potential projects. Each ramp costs about $1,500, although it varies based on the complexity of each project. SAWs Virginia relies on churches, social groups, and businesses to donate time and money.

You can find out more information, or get involved, here.

 

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

 
 

 

Mallory Noe-Payne is Radio IQ's Richmond reporter and bureau chief. She's covered policy and politics from the state capital since 2016. She was a 2020-2021 recipient of the Fulbright Young Journalist Award. She spent a year in Munich, Germany researching memory, justice, and how a society can collectively confront its sins. Her Virginia-based coverage of home healthcare workers, voting rights, and Richmond’s Slave Trail have won national news awards.