Another year, another successful ramp build in the books! KGA was delighted to participate in the Home Builders Foundation’s 10th annual Blitz Build, which took place August 20-22, 2020. This year, 13 individuals with a physical disability received custom, site-built wheelchair ramps so they are better able to access their homes. This year we partnered with our friends at Kimberly Timmons Interiors to build a ramp for Paul, a 63-year-old who was unexpectedly paralyzed on the left side of his body during a surgical procedure. Paul loves the outdoors, but the steps to his front door have caused him to fear leaving home. He wants his grandkids to see him as he was before this life changing event happened. We hope his new ramp will help him achieve his goal!
If you think Blitz Build sounds energetic and exciting, you’ve definitely got that right. This is a three-day volunteer event where groups lace up their work boots and learn that installing decking is a fine balance between artistic finesse, brute determination, and mad skill with a power drill. Definitely not for the faint of heart if you ask me.
Our ramp build started a couple days early, as we wanted to make sure we were ready to rock and roll when Blitz Build kicked off. After work on Tuesday, some KGA team members gathered to start cutting and assembling the three large deck platforms that were an integral part of the ramp designed by KGA Project Manager Paden Riley. KGA’s own John Guilliams spent the evening supervising and grilling burgers while the draftspeople were hard at work! Alright, maybe that’s only partly true, but it was a great opportunity for the newer members of the KGA team to get some hands-on experience with a ramp build.
After one evening of hard work, some delicious burgers, and a raid on John’s vegetable garden, we were feeling well prepared and ready to go. We met on site bright and early Thursday morning to try and beat the intense heat. That plan failed around 9:30am when it was already nearly 90 degrees! But, we certainly weren’t about to let the heat slow us down.
We set off lifting big, heavy things, leveling the platforms, leveling them again, really making sure they were level, and getting all of our platforms set. The plan for Day 1 of this ramp build was to get the large deck structure finished and ready for the actual ramp that would be built and installed on Day 2.
The deck came together surprisingly quickly, and we started installing the decking before lunch. However, the team was rendered completely useless when the cutest puppy, Willow, showed up to bring us lunch. What better excuse to take a break and sit down for a few minutes than the softest, goofiest little fluff ball?
After some time to refuel and re-hydrate, we still had a long way to go with the decking. We definitely brought our A-game after lunch with a pretty smooth system. Two team members measured and cut the decking, and three team members installed it. In the intense heat, it was a race to see who or what would bonk first, us, or our power tools. By mid-afternoon there was only one drill and one woman standing. Hats off to Devin for seeing it through and putting in the last few decking screws!
Day 1 of the build wrapped up with the deck fully installed and finished, ready for the Kimberly Timmons Interiors team to build the guard rails and the ramp on Day 2…. and they delivered! This was KTI’s first year on a ramp build, but you would never guess it looking at the solid work they put in to finish the ramp. Everything went smoothly on site the second day and things came together pretty quickly! The KTI team was tasked with turning the deck’s support posts into a guard rail, measuring, cutting, and installing the ramp, installing decking on the ramp, and tidying up all the loose ends.
The finished product looks pretty impressive in my opinion, but it’s an even greater testament to what can happen when a handful of people team up with a great organization and dedicate some hard work to truly making a difference in someone’s life. We all had a great experience and are looking forward to joining the Home Builders Foundation next year for Blitz Build 2021! Until then you can find me…probably not installing decking for a while.