Lauren Roberts – Wichita Falls Times Record News | Dec. 16, 2020
Mike Brahier moved to Wichita Falls in October of 2019 from Ohio.
After retirement Brahier and his wife decided to move closer to their children and grandchildren.
Brahier’s wife uses a heavy wheelchair that the family struggled to get up the steps outside of their new home. Since they moved in that wheelchair hasn’t been able to be used outside of the home.
Thanks to the Texas Ramp Project that will no longer be a problem.
The family was connected to the Texas Ramp Project through home nurses and a social worker who started making phone calls.
“This is going to make a big difference. Now she can get out and do whatever. It’ll help a lot,” Brahier said.
The now statewide organization started 30 years ago as a small Dallas-area project. More than 16,000 ramps have been built and could extend for 80 miles when lined up end to end.
Steven Ulrick, area representative for the Texas Ramp Projects, said it takes about one and a half to two hours to build a ramp.
“We try and build ramps for the people that do not have the financial capability to build their own ramp,” Ulrick said.
Instead of being trapped in their homes because of their limitations they are given the opportunity to leave the house and be more mobile.
“It’s very good for them and builds up their self-esteem,” Ulrick said.
When driving by a previous home where he built a ramp Ulrick saw the man they built the ramp for. The man had been unable to leave his home for two and a half years.
Ulrick saw him going down the street with his sons and saw that he was so happy that he could get out with his sons and actually just go down the street with his electric wheelchair, which he wasn’t able to do before.
“It makes you feel as though you’re making somebody happy and that makes you feel good. That’s what it’s all about,” Ulrick said.
Volunteers make up the entire labor force when designing and building ramps. The biggest expense for the Texas Ramp Project is lumber and other building materials.
Ulrick said he builds ramps in about a 30 mile radius around Wichita Falls.
He first heard about volunteering with the project at his church, Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, two years ago.
“They heard that there was a need for this so when I found out about it and found out what all it was I volunteered to do the area,” Ulrick said.
According to the Texas Ramp Project, an estimated 1.6 million Texans have a physical disability that makes it difficult for them to walk.
The organization receives twice as many referrals to build ramps than they can build.
So far this month Ulrick has built three ramps and they are currently trying to work through a backlog of requests.
The only time of year Ulrick doesn’t build ramps is from January to the end of March because of the temperature.
The anti-skid paint used on the ramps is supposed to be applied above 50 degrees.
“That’s why I’m trying to get it done now,” he said.
Ulrick said they are in need of more volunteers to help build ramps. No experience is needed to volunteer just someone that is willing to help.
If you are interested in volunteering with the Texas Ramp Project around Wichita County and the surrounding area call Ulrick at (940) 782-0990.