WACO, TX — On this Independence Day holiday, a Texas group came to Waco to give a Texas veteran some independence of his own.
The Texas Ramp Project offers wheelchair ramps, free of charge, to deserving veterans and others who need them.
What sets this group apart from other like it? Volunteers can have a ramp installed in just a couple of hours, so we wanted to know their secret.
Early July Fourth, a small army of volunteers arrived to give veteran Fred Khoury his independence.
For years, it took a helper to back him out of the house in a wheelchair, with each step posing a risk of injury.
"Pretty tough, because he'd bounce me down those stairs," he said.
But in just a couple of hours, the Texas Ramp Project had a new ramp installed at Mr. Khoury's home.
How do they do it so fast?
"We do a lot of pre-building so a lot of what you see around here, we call modules," said John Lane of the Texas Ramp Project.
In the Waco area, most of those modules come together in Kenny Barker's backyard workshop.
”I just enjoy it. It gives me a feeling of accomplishment when you can help somebody.” said Barker.
And while most people enjoyed a July 4th holiday, Barker, Lane and Steve Jackson made more modules to help more people.
A trailer with a ramp ready to go included pieces that took about 45 minutes to make, a few more that took about another 30 minutes, and a few more pieces that took just a minute or two apiece, with hardly any pieces going to waste.
Barker and Jackson make it look easy as they cut, fit, and fasten each piece with precision.
A few minutes of work saves hours of work on-site.
That means our donations can build more ramps for more people, giving volunteers a bigger feeling of accomplishment, which keeps them coming back.
"It's really a good feeling because you know that they are safe coming out of the home, they're safe going in. Just to come outside, under a tree, and get some fresh air for people who didn't get a chance to do that," explained Barker.
Something Fred Khoury will now get to do.
"It's very, very nice, and I appreciate it a whole lot. People are doing a great, wonderful job," he said.
The Texas Ramp Project always needs help with money and volunteers.