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Busy season for Faith in Action ramp builders

One of the greatest obstacles to staying in your own home as you age or become disabled is the difficulty of managing steps to get in and out of the house. This summer, volunteers with Faith in Action for Cass County have been busy building accessibility ramps to help folks remain living in their communities. Ramps were built in Pine River and Backus in June. More ramp projects are planned for Walker and the Woman Lake area that would be completed by August. 

Faith in Action supplies the design, the tools and volunteers to complete the project. The property owner is asked to provide for or assist with the cost of materials or a local donation will be sought to cover material costs. Faith in Action ramp designer, Al Sanford, follows building codes and current American Disabilities Act guidelines which state that for every foot you have to rise, you will need 12 feet of ramp. Sometimes this takes up more space than the homeowner expects. Treated lumber also is used to create a very sturdy, safe, and long-lasting product.

“Now I can get in and out safely,” Pearl from Backus said in an email news release. “I can even take my scooter and go down to the post office to get my mail.” 

Vernon in Pine River was glad to see his completed ramp, which the doctor required for him to return home. 

Many things can be done to make simple improvements in a home for accessibility. A simple and relatively inexpensive improvement that does not require extensive remodeling is to place hand rails in appropriate places, particularly along stairways, ramps or long hallways. Grab bars in a bathroom or shower are another easy fix. Complicated pathways through rooms can also be easily modified by rearranging or removing furniture to provide space that is direct and wide enough for walkers or wheelchairs. 

Taking a look at your home or business with the accessibility in mind can provide insight as to whether you could provide better access for a growing part of the local population. Addressing even some of these accessibility issues can greatly improve a person’s ability to continue living comfortably in the face of aging and disabilities. It certainly enhances quality of life.  

Faith in Action is a community-based, charitable nonprofit organization that serves the elderly, the disabled and others in need. It also is an organization of volunteers who have time, gifts and talents to share with people who need help. Besides building ramps and installing grab bars and railings, Faith in Action volunteers provide transportation to medical appointments, errands and shopping. They also help with homemaking and chores, provide friendly visiting and give caregivers a break with respite. Faith in Action charges no fee for services, but gladly accepts donations. 

Becca Clemens
After graduating high school in 2004, I attended Central Lakes College in Staples, MN for 2 years where I got a diploma in Communication Art and Design. I then transfered up to Bemidji State University in, you guessed it, Bemidji, MN. In the spring of 2009, I graduated from BSU. Then in the fall of 2009 I got a job at Echo Publishing, a sister company to the Brainerd Dispatch.