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Bowman wheelchair ramp project helps family in need

By Billy Robinson

On March 25, a five-man mission team of the South Carolina United Methodist Conference completed a wheelchair ramp for George and Sheryl Carn in Bowman.

Holly Hill and North United Methodist churches came together to help finance, provide expertise and volunteer labor to complete the project of love. The ramp was one of many that United Methodist volunteers all across South Carolina and the world build to help people out during their times of need as well as the families involved. Without the ramps, every entry and exit is very difficult, unsafe and at times impossible.

This was a typical project with the exception of an overwhelmingly helpful dog named Ruby and the connectional ministry, which brought the project to life.

Ruby is a loveable Irish Setter dog who lives and guards the home location of the ramp with overwhelming love and affection for all. She was the first one to meet volunteers each day and the last one to say goodbye. She was in our faces and up next to us “helping out” all the mission through. Nearing the end of the project, Ruby took off with a box of nuts used on the ends of the carriage bolts to hold the 4x4-inch post to the ramp and steady it. She had already hauled off two pairs of our gloves and several other items. Most we were able to retrieve some even after she had buried them, though I came home with one less pair of good leather gloves.

She grabbed the open box of nuts in her mouth and looked at us as to say, “Look what I’ve got!” The homeowner and all of our team started gently coaxing her to gently put the box down, but as we approached her, she took off with them without spilling any and ran off and buried them before we could get to her. We never found any of them, and Rev. John Elmore had to ask his wife, Kay, to go to Ace Hardware in Holly Hill and purchase us more.

The connectional side came in when Terrilynn Robinson called me to see if our disaster response ministry with the South Carolina United Methodist Early Response Team built wheelchair ramps for people in need, as she had a friend whose father had Parkinson’s disease that had recently confined him to a wheelchair. I replied that we do not as the ERT, but many of our ERT volunteers across the state participate in building ramps and many other wonderful forms of ministry when not on an actual disaster response.

Elmore made contact with the family and found out they were members of Duncan Chapel UMC in Bowman. He coordinated a ramp-building project, including $1,500 in lumber and materials. The cost and labor were split between the United Methodist churches and family in a wonderful connection of love, care and compassion.

Volunteers from Holly Hill UMC were Elmore and Stephen Wade and from North UMC were Michael Hughes, Felix Vazquez and Billy Robinson.

Robinson is South Carolina UMC ERT coordinator.

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