I have been on the Rampathon committee for several years and chaired it around 2007. While on the committee, my main goal was to create a good fit between the recipients and the general contractors.
Volunteering for Rampathon isn't a painless commitment. We begin site visits to potential ramp recipients months before the ramp install date in May. Once the ramp location is selected, team members rally to save the date and give up one of their Saturdays off. We outline the logistics and scheduling for sourcing and delivering materials, breakfast, lunches, signage, and the Sani-Can, and prep for hot and rainy weather.
On Rampathon Day, there may be 15-20 workers of varying skill levels present. Five to eight of the workers are skilled carpenters focusing on building the ramp, but that doesn't mean they're doing all the work because there is plenty to go around, and we finish the ramp in one day. Before installation, we stain the cedar lumber, dig holes for the posts, roto hammer concrete, move materials from staging to saw to ramp, assist the carpenter whenever possible, and clean up. If we're not taking a break for food and drink, it’s go go go.
My team and I love Rampathon so much because it is one of the few times my carpenters all get to work as a team, and it’s the only time my office staff get to work alongside the carpenters. It makes us a tighter knit company. In the end, we take great pride in what we have been able to provide to the ramp recipient. It is not uncommon to see tears of joy when we finish the ramp and have helped liberate the recipients, allowing them to leave and enter their homes.
This year's ramp was for a little boy, Frankie, who has already been through a lot. His parents had to carry his wheelchair down the step to get him into the vehicle, and he was getting old enough that it was becoming unsafe for his parents. Watching them come down the ramp for the first time and seeing their smiles and tears of joy makes all the work worth it. We can't wait to meet next year's recipient.
Published: August 18, 2023
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