GREENSBURG – The efforts of half a dozen volunteers Wednesday morning had made a world of difference for a Greensburg woman by that afternoon.
On a cold, misty early spring morning, Ed Tower and a crew of several others went to work just outside the front door of Carolyn Browder’s West Fourth Street home, sawing and hammering away at a ramp that will grant the 80-year-old home owner a gift no amount of money could ever buy: personal freedom.
Carolyn “Connie” Browder has struggled with mobility issues and other health ailments in recent years, leading her to require the use of a mobility scooter to get around. The scooter has been a boon to improving Carolyn’s way of life, but one problem remained: She needed a ramp to exit her home in the battery powered vehicle.
Enter Thrive Alliance, a Bartholomew County-based non-profit association that hosts a program called “Ramps to Freedom.” Carolyn’s insurance provider read about the program in an article published in the Daily News more than a year ago. “Ramps for Freedom” seemed to be just the thing Carolyn needed most, so she called Vickie Bateman, Thrive Alliance’s volunteer resource manager, who met with the Greensburg woman at her home.
Funding for Carolyn’s project came in the form of a $1,500 grant from the Decatur County Community Foundation, leaving only the manual labor to be accomplished.
That’s where things stood Wednesday morning when Tower, Kevin Meyer, Jim Dunn, Bill Stache, Tom Long and Ted Unrue went to work at Carolyn’s home.
All six men are retirees who comprise a so-called “Wednesday Crew” that completed 13 ramps in 16 weeks last year. They finished the first season of the program with 22 ramps built in total. Carolyn’s ramp is the first constructed by the Wednesday Crew in Decatur County. The builders have created similar ramps in Bartholomew, Jackson, Jennings and Brown counties throughout the last year. Decatur County REMC lent assistance Wednesday as well.