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The Texas Ramps Project helps two San Angelo residents this December

A cancer patient and heart attack survivor will now have ramps to access their homes.
Credit: Rob Newman

SAN ANGELO, Texas — A cancer patient and a heart attack survivor will soon have access to leave their homes without being stuck inside.

After suffering through various medical concerns, these individuals are attempting to return to a sense of normalcy, much of which is made possible by the San Angelo chapter of the Texas Ramps Project. 

"It's cool to get to know these people and their stories," regional coordinator for the San Angelo chapter Rob Newman said. 

Newman is a volunteer who spends his free time coordinating helpers, building ramps and planning for upcoming works.

The San Angelo chapter started in the mid-2000s but it ended suddenly a few years ago until Newman decided to head the organization and restart it in the Concho Valley. 

"In the beginning it was a lot harder," Newman said. "And then we got more and more groups involved...and then it just kind of exploded."

Credit: Rob Newman

Now two and 1/2 years later, approximately 40-70 volunteers help to serve 13 counties in the area and many of the helpers are from local churches.

The ramps are completely free of charge to those who are in need and on Dec. 10, the group is helping a cancer patient "whose having trouble even getting around their house, they're having trouble getting to chemotherapy," Newman said. 

"If we don't build this ramp, she's not gonna be able to follow her chemotherapy regimen," he added.

The following week on Dec. 17, the team is building a ramp for a resident who recently suffered from a heart attack and is currently staying in a nursing home as he is unable to use the stairs outside his home.

"The only way he's gonna get home is us building that ramp," Newman said. "Actually, [we're] gonna get him home for Christmas."

Often, those in need of ramps are elderly individuals who are stuck inside their homes without access to the outdoors. 

This can become isolating and Newman wants to help as many people as possible. 

In fact, his group built approximately 60 ramps in 2022 and they hope to build 70-75 in the upcoming year thanks to their many volunteers.

When asked why he decides to volunteer his free time outside of work, Newman replied, "I can't think of anything else that I can do in three hours that can change somebody's life and give them their freedom back."

Credit: Morgan McGrath

The San Angelo chapter is currently welcoming volunteers and there is no prior experience needed to join.

"All you need is a good attitude and a desire to help others and we've got everything else," Newman said.

Funding for new ramps is made possible through a combination of donations and grants, and the project Dec. 10 is being paid for by the Mary Ellen Kent Bunyard Family Foundation. 

Doctors, social workers and other professionals can submit a referral at texasramps.org and those interested in volunteering can utilize the same website to fill out a form.


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