CASA volunteers build ramps for seniors - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

CASA volunteers build ramps for seniors

McAnnally's finished ramp. McAnnally's finished ramp.

A glimpse through her window is the usual way Janice McAnnally admires her backyard.

She wishes she could step outside but her disability prevents her from going out on her own.

"Getting out and doing shopping, I can't do that anymore. I haven't been able to do that in a long time," McAnnally said.

The 55-year-old Madison resident suffers from Parkinson's disease among other illnesses. Her wheelchair is the one thing that allows her some freedom.

"Otherwise I'd be sitting in this house, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, not being able to get out because the ramp that was there was so steep," McAnnally said.

A ramp has been installed at her home to assist her but she rarely, if at all, uses it. She does not want to risk falling on the ramp's sharp incline, ever since her roommate injured himself while walking down it.

But a team of volunteers was determined to help her.

CASA of Madison County organized volunteers and a contractor with plenty building experience to assemble wooden ramps for disabled and senior residents.

"I build one a month with different teams, different organizations in town, and they go up to CASA and say we want to help out," said Ricardo Jaramillo.

Jaramillo is a contractor for Redstone Arsenal and has been volunteering with CASA for seven years. This weekend, he's leading CASA's Ramp Build Blitz.

The team will build at least four more ramps over the weekend, free of charge. Each ramp roughly costs about $900 to build, according to Jaramillo. The overall cost has been covered by CASA and donation money alone.

McAnnally will never forget the call when CASA told her she's getting a new ramp.

"I was so excited, I wanted to jump up and down and scream. But I was just thanking God, thanking them; I'm just grateful that they're here to do this."

The team finished the 70-foot ramp by Thursday afternoon. Jaramillo said McAnnally was in tears when she saw the finished ramp.

From now on, she can go outside and enjoy her backyard by gliding down the new ramp.

"This is awesome. The show we had for this ramp today, this weekend, I actually had too many," Jaramillo said.

For McAnnally, this isn't just a ramp made of wood and nails – it's the gift of independence.

"Thank you so much because you're giving me back my life," McAnnally said.

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