PEORIA — Fifteen Peoria-area residents will be “ready to roll” on Saturday as new wheelchair ramps will be installed at their homes.
Advocates for Access, His Helping Hands and ADA Total Access are teaming up for the sixth annual Ready to Roll event. Volunteers will dedicate their time to assemble wheelchair ramps at the homes of physically disabled Tri-County Area residents.
Homeowners are given applications and are put on a waiting list for construction. This year, 17 people are finally leaving that waiting list. Recipients live in Washburn, Creve Coeur, Peoria and East Peoria. The event typically runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and utilizes the power of 130 volunteers. In addition to the 15 homes receiving work Saturday, one ramp already was constructed back in April and another is set to be constructed in the first week of July.
“This couldn’t happen without providers in the community knowing that there are resources available,” said Jeannine McAllister, executive director of Advocates for Access. “The work is so fulfilling to know that everyone is coming together to give accessibility back to the community.”
Rus Kinzinger of His Helping Hands dedicates his time because he finds the work to be “so valuable to the community. Everyone gives so much of themselves for the cause.” He said the entire volunteer experience is very “selfless.”
Since the program began in 2012, the groups have built 61 ramps for residents with disabilities in Peoria, Tazewell, Woodford and Fulton counties.
One of the recipients is Steve Blumenshine, 51, of Peoria. He is a foster parent of four children — two 10-year-olds and two 7-month-olds — and is an amputee who lost his right leg almost 30 years ago after being hit by a drunken driver. Blumenshine built the current ramp and walkway on his home while in his wheelchair with help from his grandson, who was 3 years old at the time. Volunteers will replace it this weekend.
“My ramp is 14 years old and I don’t trust it anymore,” said Blumenshine. “I have to carry the babies outside and put them in the car. If that ramp gave out, that would be bad. With this new ramp, I won’t have to worry.”