CRS, Church of the Highlands team up to construct wheelchair ramp

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The Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services and the Church of the Highlands teamed up to construct a wheelchair ramp for an Altoona resident Saturday, Sept. 7. Church members were on the scene bright and early to construct a ramp for the resident, who has spastic quadriplegia cerebral palsy.

Children’s Rehabilitation Service Social Work Administrator Emma Hereford said rehab engineers visited the home and created a blueprint for what would be needed. From there, she began searching for community funding to help with the cost of materials and supplies. The Church of the Highlands was there to answer the call.

Savannah Bennett, who is 14, has been under the care of her aunt, Judy Miller, since the death of her grandmother last summer.

Before the ramp was constructed, Miller had to physically carry Bennett or call someone to help her to her car when they travelled. Heavy rains, especially during cooler months, made it impossible to pull her car closer to the home.

“In the winter time, it is just impossible because it is always muddy,” she said. “It has been really hard.”

With a new ramp in place, Miller will be able to easily wheel Bennett to her vehicle.

Bennett, who has been an ADRS consumer since she was 1, participates in the department’s seizure, orthopedic, and seating clinics and receives several other services.

It was during these clinics and visits with Hereford that plans began to fall into place to construct a ramp. Tim Driskell, an ADRS rehab tech engineer for the area, received a referral and visited the Altoona home to take pictures, get specifications, and create drawings. Hereford shared the information gathered by Driskell with members of the Church of the Highlands outreach team, and the project began to take shape.

She was contacted by Outreach Coordinator Doug Molock and provided him with the information from Driskell. They soon received a quote from Ray Kinnemer, a church member and owner of Ray Kinnemer Construction in Albertville.

“We completed an application for a local community resource that we could use and sent them a letter and the information and the quote from the construction company, along with a picture of Savannah,” Hereford said. “We got approval for it to be done. The only thing they asked for is that we pay for the supplies and materials. We got on their schedule for their service day, and here we are.”

Throughout the morning, the crew worked through scorching temperatures to create a ramp through the family’s yard. An extension also includes stepping stones to provide better footing at the car.

Molock said members who created the ramp for Bennett are construction professionals with a strong work ethic and a love of public service. He said they construct projects throughout the area out of the goodness of their hearts.

“We do this because we love the Lord, and we are to be servants,” he said. “These guys are so humble in what they do. We do this because it is a passion we have in our heart.”

Miller expressed her gratitude to the crew for making the ramp a reality and to Hereford for leading her through many tough transitions.

“She is a lifesaver,” she said. “She has guided me throughout the process.”

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