Advancing National Service

When an Elderly Veteran Tried to Build a Wheelchair Ramp, These Volunteers Didn’t Let Him Go at it Alone

October 1, 2014
by
Menu
When an Elderly Veteran Tried to Build a Wheelchair Ramp, These Volunteers Didn’t Let Him Go at it Alone
David Amsler/Flickr Creative Commons

Eighty-six-year-old Navy veteran John Walker of Gulfport, Miss., is used to taking care of himself. So when his wife Kathleen broke her leg, he decided to build a wheelchair ramp to make it easier to get her in and out of the house.

But when the Retired Senior Volunteer Program of Harrison County (RSVP), learned about the situation, the group contacted Disability Connection, a nonprofit that helps with emergency home repairs and modifications for veterans, the disabled and low-income families.

Disability Connection executive director Janie O’Keefe tells Trang Pham-Bui of WLOX that after Walker build his ramp, “We came and inspected it and it did not look like it was as safe as it should be. It did not look like it would survive long term, so we agreed to basically start over and give him a fresh, brand-new ramp.”

At first Walker refused the help. “I’m used to doing for myself, for my family,” he said. But he soon realized he and his wife could use the support of people like U.S. Army Specialist Kegan Wood, who pitched in to build the new ramp using materials that the Home Depot donated. Pham-Bui asked Walker how he felt to see so many people volunteering to work on the project and he says, “It makes me want to cry.”

“If anybody deserves it, you and your wife do,” O’Keefe tells Walker.

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

MORE: Two NFL Players Surprise a Veteran Dedicated to Helping Service Members

Comments