A 77-year-old Black Diamond resident received a special gift when a Bonney Lake nonprofit helped build a wheelchair ramp at his home.
The nonprofit Building Beyond the Walls volunteers to build a ramp during Rampathon, an event that helps local seniors receive ramps and wheelchair access at their homes, according to a press release from the nonprofit. The ramp was built for for Black Diamond resident Terry Hildebrand, who struggles with mobility issues from a gymnastics injury he suffered when he was 18.
“Building Beyond the Walls is about building a safe community through training and volunteering,” CEO and founder of Building Beyond the Walls Sue Z. Hart states in the press release. “Rampathon is the perfect event that offers the learning environment to teach construction skills, help someone in need and build community. This year’s event is particularly rewarding because we’re working alongside the family members.”
Hildebrand has used a wheelchair for the past several years. At 18, Hildebrand suffered a back injury accident after dismounting from the high bar, according to the press release. He was trying out for the Pre-Olympic Games and was attending the University of Washington on a gymnastics scholarship. The injury ended his gymnastics career and his ability to walk without braces.
Hildebrand uses a make-shift ramp made of plywood at his Black Diamond home. His sister-in-law Sherry Barnes heard about Rampathon and applied. This is the second time the Hildebrand family applied for a ramp and this year Hildebrand was chosen, the press release states.
“It makes it more special because I know it’s not any easy thing to get,” Hildebrand states in the press release. “For people to volunteer and build it for free is impressive. I couldn’t believe how professional it looks. I really appreciate it.”
This is the third year that Building Beyond the Walls has built a free ramp during Rampathon. Rampathon is an annual event where community volunteers head to homes throughout King and Snohomish Counties to build wheelchair access ramps for free. Building Beyond the Walls creates an experience through inclusive hands-on construction skills training that increases confidence and self-reliance. By focusing on projects that give back, we connect individuals more deeply in their communities.