Rotarians work diligently on wheelchair ramp builds for Madison homes

MADISON – Rotary Club of Madison pursues service projects at the international, nation and local levels. In one of their ongoing projects, Rotarians build wheelchair ramps for residents with mobility problems.

“The first ramp that the Madison club built was in 2017. The club is always looking for ‘Done in a Day’ type projects that can involve members. Ramps typically are built in a single day,” Albert ‘Al’ Turner said. Turner often leads building teams for the ramps.

Building ramps is a good opportunity for community service that involves members in a group activity, Turner said.

Rotary Club builds ramps on behalf of Care Assurance System for the Aging and Homebound or CASA of Madison County. “That means the ramps are within the confines of Madison County. Our club focuses on Huntsville and Madison city addresses,” Turner said.

Turner got involved with the ramps when he fully retired and was looking for volunteer opportunities. “CASA was advertising for garden team leads, and I expressed interest. When they interviewed me, I also said I liked working with tools, and the rest is history,” he said.

“I like building things, and ramp building was a perfect outlet,” Turner said. “I now lead teams for Rotary builds, and I’m a member of a ramp-building team not associated with Rotary.”

The Rotarians build most ramps in one day, often a half-day, depending on the crew’s expertise. “CASA enjoys having several ramp-building teams that are all experienced. They just ‘go at it’ with little guidance,” Turner said. CASA provides all lumber, mostly two-by-four and one-by-six cuts.

CASA identifies clients for ramps. The process often begins with a request from the client, a friend/neighbor or service organization. CASA then sends a home assessment team to visit the client and determine if a ramp could help or if other services could help.

“CASA publishes the list of clients in need. Ramp-building teams choose the ones they’ll tackle,” Turner said. “Rotary finds clients because several club members have relationships with CASA.”

Rotary and CASA are “a perfect match of an organization whose purpose is service to community (while) meeting needs of an organization identifying the areas in the community that need support,” he said.

Turner and ramp teams often hear clients’ remarks of appreciation: “Thank you so very much.” “This will really make my life easier.” “I can now get out of the house safely again.”

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