Early in November of 2018, the manager of Sunset Ridge Mobile Home Park in Portland, called VFW Post 4090, asking if they knew of any organization that might build or finance the construction of a handicap ramp for a veteran who lived the park. Post 4090 took action immediately. Project approval by the membership was unanimous and shortly afterwards a construction crew was formed.
VFW life member and Vietnam veteran Patrick Patton accepted the job as the project manager. Through the winter and spring of 2019, material bids were accepted from local businesses and the project planning moved along at a good pace.
After several months of planning, the team set a start date of August 9. Together, a team of veterans from the Post, Auxiliary and American Legion Post 129 set the footings, engineered the ramp support system and the project was under way.
With the weather cooperating, the crew worked as a team, each contributing their carpenter skills and knowledge while maintaining the correct ramp slope ratio, assembling the supports, deck boards, spindles, and handrails. On August 15, after approximately 4 days’ work on the project, the ramp was completed.
Homeowner and veteran in need Bruce Burghduf, explained because of his and wife Esther’s physical disabilities, a handicap ramp would be a necessity in the near future.
Bruce is an Army veteran of 6 years. His duty stations were Alaska, Virginia and North Carolina where he held specialty duties as a “Programmer/Analyst” for 2 years and as a “Heavy Construction Equipment Operator” for 4 years and 7 months.
When asked what he thought of the ramp, Bruce stated, “This ramp has relieved the stress on my knees and ankles by not having to use the steps. My wife Esther uses a walker, so the ramp is much easier for her to use than negotiating steps with a walker.”
Volunteers on the ramp construction were Patrick Patton, Mike Fox, Fred Ingraham, Phil Hulings, Rick Teachout, Bill Brown, Andy Huhn, Dave Reed, James Hock and Bill Almy.
Bruce thanked the crew of veterans for their hard work creating, in his words, “this wonderful ramp”.
Thank you to MPC Lumber Co. of Lansing for the veteran’s discount on materials. Thank you to Todd Goodman Construction (TAG) for project consultation.
The total cost of the project was $1,568.00. If you wish to contribute to this project, please call 616-540-0917. Contributions received over and above the project cost will be deposited into the Post’s Veteran’s Relief Fund. The Relief fund has strict guidelines directed by the VFW National Bylaws for the purpose of,” aid, assistance, relief, and comfort of needy or disabled veterans.”
A special thank you to Patrick Patton for his long hours of organizing, persistence, planning and patience.