BIG FLATS, N.Y. (WENY) -- "The Ramp Guys" officially installed their 500th ramp in Bath on Friday. But in order to celebrate their milestone, you have to know how they began. 20 years ago at the Centenary United Methodist church, a group of retired members were tasked to build a ramp for someone in need. One ramp lead to another, and then another.
"In the early years they built 2, 4, 5, 8, 10 a year because it wasn't that big of a demand," said coordinator of "The Ramp Guys", Glenn Davis. "Today we're being asked for 30, 40, 50, 60 a year because as the population ages, there's more need and there's emphasis on keeping people in their home as opposed to putting them in a home. So the need is much greater than it ever is."
Everyone on the team are volunteers with most of the ramps being funded through grants from the Office for the Aging or the Avoca Methodist church.
"The main thing is these guys share the same philosophy as I do," said Davis. "If I've got a problem, I'd like somebody to come help me. If I want somebody to come help me, then I better be prepared to go help somebody else. That's the way I look at it, and that's the way most of these guys are."
As for the 500th ramp, it was built for the sister of an original member of "The Ramp Guys", Dan Reppert. For Reppert, the best feeling is giving someone their freedom again.
"Three of the ramps we built were for people that were in wheelchairs that could not get down the steps unless somebody moved their wheelchair down," said former coordinator for "The Ramp Guys", Dan Reppert. "They went down the ramp when we finished it and they said, 'I'm free! I'm free!' Man, that's the best feeling you can have."
To learn how to get a ramp, you can call the Steuben County Office for the Aging at (607) 664-2298. To donate, you can make a check out to the Avoca Methodist church, or the Steuben County Office of the Aging, and earmark it fro ramps. If you're interested in volunteering, you can call Glenn Davis at (607) 769-7096.