Panhandle Spirit: Texas Ramp Project

Volunteers with the Texas Ramp Project construct a ramp at a home in Amarillo(ABC7 Amarillo)

Mobility is something that most of us take for granted, but for those who rely on walkers or wheelchairs, the simple act of leaving their home is anything but. That’s where the Texas Ramp Project comes in.

Recently, one of their volunteer crews installed a ramp for a woman in Amarillo who’s recovering from a fall after a knee replacement. Her granddaughter says she uses a wheelchair and a walker now.

“With our steps, we were worried she might fall again, and hurt herself even more,” said Cecelia Forbes.

A pharmacist at the rehab center contacted the Ramp Project, and added her grandmother’s name to the list. All their projects come through referrals from medical professionals or social service agencies. This group works almost every Saturday morning, somewhere in the panhandle.

Michael Crippen first connected with the Texas Ramp Project about ten years ago in Fort Worth, and kept it going when he moved to Canyon in 2014. He says the reason is simple, but profound.

“You literally change somebody’s life in 3 or 4 hours. You take them from being stuck in their house to being able to go outside. We give them a little bit of freedom. Everybody needs sunshine. Sun therapy is about the best therapy you can get,” Crippen said.

While some of the builders are from Amarillo, others drive from as far as Perryton. Kenny Horst lives in Pampa, but has been hooked on putting the Panhandle Spirit into action, since his first project about a year and a half ago.

“Seeing their face, and seeing how much they really appreciate us coming out and doing something for them, so yes sir, that’s what really drives me to do this,” Horst said.

Forbes said she was anxious to see her grandmother’s reaction to the ramp, knowing how important such a simple act of kindness would be to her family.

“Thanks for these lovely people for coming out and helping us with that. She has the freedom to do what she wants to do, so thank you so much for all the help. You all are magnificent,” Forbes said.

Crippen said they built 91 ramps last year, but they had 140 referrals. He said more volunteers would help them tremendously in fulfilling that need. If you’re interested, you can find them on Facebook under “TRP Amarillo”.

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