Over the past year, material costs for construction projects have risen dramatically, but some creative local teamwork helps ensure it isn’t an obstacle for disabled residents of Cullman County who need a lift at home.
With a generous dose of sweating fortune from members of the East and West Cullman Baptist Associations, the North Alabama Regional Council of Governments (NARCOG) has managed to get a $15,000 state grant all the way to the front doors of more than a dozen homes. in the agency’s three counties service area — including 11 homes here in Cullman County.
The funds, provided through the Alabama Department of Senior Services, have all been spent on purchasing materials to build wheelchair ramps and wheelchair-accessible showers for residents whose age, income and ability qualifications make them eligible to have the improvements installed in their homes. . NARCOG Area Agency on Aging Director Justin Graves said the help of local volunteers has made all the difference in getting as much mileage out of the project as possible, especially with the recent rise in material costs.
“To help us stretch the money, we partnered with the Baptist Societies in Cullman, which is a major reason we’ve been able to install so many ramps in Cullman County,” Graves said. “Their crews supplied the labor for free, while we bought the materials. The average cost of each project ranged from $900 to $1,300 – and unfortunately that kind of money doesn’t get you as much wood as you did in, say, 2018. We appreciate the help we’ve gotten from the Baptist Societies to help stretch that money as far as we can. .”
Don Scott, who helps local crews set up the slopes to ADA standards, says volunteers from the East and West Baptist Societies try to meet the need, not just when NARCOG calls, but for other area offices as well. and nonprofits looking to lend a helping hand — or a helping hammer.
“People are reaching out to us and we’re trying to help,” Scott said Wednesday. “It could be individuals, churches or agencies such as the United Way, March of Dimes or the Lions Club. The day before yesterday, our group built a ramp in Hanceville where a person paid for the materials and then chose to make a donation. Many people come to us like this.
“Each project is unique and we design and build each ramp to meet the requirements in each location. The biggest we’ve ever done was building some large wheelchair-accessible ramps at the Cullman Christian School on the Old Hanceville Highway. We ask nothing for our labor… but we have learned that God will provide: if the Lord sends us, we will come.”
Benjamin Bullard can be reached by phone at 256-734-2131 ext. 234.