HBF 2019 Blitz Build

Last Friday, August 23rd, a crew of six KGA volunteers participated in the 9th Annual Home Builders Foundation Blitz Build. During the Blitz Build over 200 volunteers come together for 3 days to build accessible wheelchair ramps for 25 recipients across the Denver metro area. Our own motley crew included KGA’s most veteran employee, Graham; our newest employee, Shannon; and myself (as marketing director, I easily won the prize for least experienced with power tools or building anything in the field). Thankfully, I was surrounded by good teachers and ended the day a bit sore, but with all digits firmly in place.

One of the things that surprised me was the amount of time and commitment needed from the team captains – you guys are amazing! I’ve been in the industry for about 5 years, but this was my first time participating in a ramp build. In addition to their construction knowledge, they also need to do site visits, order materials, and bring all of their own tools and equipment for the build. For us this included numerous drills, at least 3 different kinds of power saws (the circular one was especially fun) and a multitude of items I never knew existed, but were incredibly practical.

The weekend prior to the build John and Paden (our team captains) built the frames for the ramp, so they were ready to go when we arrived Friday morning. This saved us a ton of time, and allowed us to the get the ramp practically finished in one day. The only thing remaining when we left on Friday afternoon was finishing out the side walls and gate, which John and Paden returned over the weekend to do.

Giving back is one of KGA’s core values, and I can’t think of a better way to use our skills to help improve the lives of others. Our ramp went to a young mother who, due to a spinal cord injury, is in a wheelchair. For her – and so many others – a few stairs to get in and out of her home mean the difference between the independence to move freely on her own, and the need for assistance any time she wants to leave the house.

We’re so fortunate to be part of an industry that allows us to do what we love while supporting amazing organizations such as the Home Builders Foundation, and their mission to build independence, provide opportunities and elevate lives for individuals and families with disabilities in our community. If you’ve ever wondered how a ramp comes together, check out the pics below of our progress throughout the day.

The first step was to position the base for the new ramp over the existing stairs.
John and Paden built the frames for the base and the ramp the weekend before, so they were ready to go the day of the build.
In order for the ramp to sit flush with the sidewalk, we needed to dig out a big chunk of the existing landscape.
After a few tries and adding a notch to the frame to work around a pipe in the ground, our hole was big enough.
Customizing the stair stringers for the deck.
Strangely enough, building the stairs was actually one of the more challenging parts of the ramp build.
Almost done…
We finished Friday afternoon, feeling accomplished. John and Paden would be back over the weekend to add the finishing touches.
The finished ramp!

About the Home Builders Foundation

The Home Builders Foundation is a Denver-based nonprofit that provides accessible home modifications for individuals with a physical disability and financial need. They install ramps, widen doors, install handrails, modify bathrooms, and more. Their work changes lives, allowing people to remain in their homes and regain their independence. All this is done at no cost to the recipient, made possible through volunteers and donations.