LOVELAND, Colo. — Sometimes the smallest acts of kindness can make the biggest difference. For a group of volunteers, all it took was a few hours and roughly $1,200-worth of materials to change a man’s life.
Eddie Lopez has used a wheelchair since he was 10 months old. He was the only survivor of a car crash caused by a driver who fell asleep at the wheel.
While he considers himself to be active and independent, there’s one thing he hasn’t been able to do for years — leave his own home.
Lopez has to rely on others to carry him up and down a set of stairs in order to be able to leave and return.
Volunteer group builds ramp for Loveland man who uses wheelchair
“I couldn’t do anything really. I mean, if there was a fire or some type of disaster going on, I definitely would not have been able to get myself out of here safely. I literally would have to throw myself, basically,” Lopez said. “It’s scary at times. I fear every day like, “What if I fall and nobody’s here?””
So on Wednesday, Volunteers of America’s Handyman Program and the Weifield Group teamed up to build Lopez a wheelchair-friendly ramp for his home.
“We take for granted that some people are waiting a lifetime for like a three-hour project. So, it’s just really heartwarming that, and we’re truly blessed that we get to do this type of giving back,” said Curtis Miller, director of pre-construction for industrial groups with Weifield.
Volunteers of America Colorado is a nonprofit, faith-based organization dedicated to helping those in need. The Handyman Program focuses on safety through assessment, education and repairs.
“This is a person, who is stuck inside his home, he doesn’t have agency over his own life because of this,” said Jon Ewing, communications manager for Volunteers of America Colorado.
This group focuses on home repairs and maintenance for seniors and those with disabilities, and have built 65 ramps a year in Larimer County alone.
Lopez says he was overwhelmed by how quickly the group was able to build the ramp and how much it will change his life.
“I get to just leave the house whenever I want. Instead of feeling trapped I get freedom,” Lopez said. “It takes a huge weight off my shoulders.”