“You have no idea how much this ramp means to me,” Patrick Redmond, 51, says. Through advocacy efforts of the Monroe CIL, Patrick recently received a ramp which helps him enter and exit his house with ease.
Before getting the ramp, Patrick had an old ramp on his front door which was barely useable. It was sinking into the ground and had become dangerous. Patrick says he used to have to use his back door, struggling to walk using a cane. As a result he didn’t leave the house much unless necessary.
“When I received a call that I would soon have a new ramp built onto my house for free, I about fell over,” he said. A retired engineer, Patrick experiences seizures and traumatic arthritis. After multiple knee and back surgeries, Patrick now uses a wheelchair.
The ramp that Patrick received was part of a broader ramp-building initiative made possible by a partnership among Comcast, the Michigan Senate, Disability Network–Michigan, the United Way, and the Monroe CIL. Early in 2009, Comcast donated $30,000 to build ramps for five Michigan residents in need. Funding for Patrick’s ramp was allocated to the Monroe area after Monroe CIL staff members Rhonda Elliott and Kelly Meadows spoke to their legislators about the large number of people who need wheelchair ramps.
Most insurance companies will not pay for wheelchair ramps, and the Monroe United Way has a two-year waiting list of people wanting ramps. The Monroe CIL staff chose Patrick based on need and coordinated many of the details for the project.
On August 7, more than 30 people came to Patrick’s house to help make the ramp a reality. State Senator for Monroe, Randy Richardville, was one of the volunteers that day. Tim Horton’s donated donuts and coffee, and Lowe’s donated delivery of the wood and other supplies. Contractor Mike Everitt of Unlimited Contracting in Dundee donated his time to oversee the work, and State Line Medical donated the design plans for the ramp.
Patrick is elated with the results. “Now I can pull right up to my front door in my power wheelchair,” Patrick said. “I appreciate this so much.”