Update on the Cost of Lumber

We have some good news as 2x4's have come down in price, but a sheet of plywood has almost doubled. In central Texas we've had reports of one sheet of plywood costing between $81 to $90.

However, with fires raging in prime forested areas in the West, this may only be temporary, so we still need your concerted efforts in local fund raising.
Remind potential donors that the Texas Ramp Project provides a safe way for people with mobility issues to remain in their own homes, aging in place. A $1,000 ramp from TRP can save taxpayers up to $80,000 a year if a person must enter a nursing facility because of lack of safe access at home. 
Volunteer Spotlight

Steve Jackson: Coordinator, Waco South Region
Steve Jackson is a Texas boy, born and raised in Lubbock. But that didn’t keep him from traveling elsewhere in Texas, the country, and the world. Lucky for the Texas Ramp Project, in 2015 he ended up in Waco, running our hard-charging outfit in McLennan County.
Steve was living in Midlothian and building with Habitat for Humanity when one of his coworkers gave him the name of Beverly Ford, then the North Central Texas area coordinator. Beverly snapped him up and trained him to “build ramps the TRP way,” then to do surveys. Some days he drove over 100 miles doing surveys across two or three counties. He also served as a team leader in Johnson County.
In Waco, Steve receives the referrals, meets with the client, surveys the site, and develops the plan. He then hands it off to his right-hand man, Kenny Barker, who orders materials and prebuilds the modules.

Steve, Kenny and crew build about two ramps per week. Last year they built 107 ramps despite the pandemic. So far this year they have built 53 more. Steve has forged a partnership with Habitat for Humanity that is funding much of their ramp construction.
Now about that travel. After earning a degree in petroleum engineering from Texas Tech, Steve did a five-year hitch in the Army, including time in Germany. He then spent 19 years working for Mobil Oil, ARAMCO and Halliburton. Work took him to Wichita Falls, Midland, Levelland, Houston and Bakersfield, California, as well as Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and Venezuela.
In 1999, he retired and went back to school at Tarleton College to earn a master’s degree in computer information systems. His wife, Pat, also earned a degree there at the same time. He worked in IT before retiring for good in 2007.
Steve and Pat, his high school sweetheart, have been married for 50 years. They have two daughters living in California and Houston and four grandchildren, ranging in age from 6 to 14. A son-in-law sometimes assists with ramp construction.
Why devote his retirement time to TRP? “I do not choose to get hot and sweaty and close to heat exhaustion every time we build, but I also can’t say no,” he says. “God put me in this ministry.”

Grants Received

The San Antonio Northeast region, in response to our Kronkosky Foundation challenge grant, has received significant donations from several area churches thanks to local fundraising by Kay Geurin. They include First United Methodist Church New Braunfels, $5,000; Rebecca Creek Baptist Church Spring, $2,500; St. Andrew Lutheran Church Canyon Lake, $1,500; and St. John’s Episcopal Church New Braunfels, $1,250.
Other recent grants and donations include the following:

·        $20,000 for Abilene from the Dian Graves Owen Foundation.
·        $15,000 for San Antonio from the San Antonio Area Foundation.
·        $10,000 for Amarillo from the Louise Bowers Slentz Foundation.
·        $10,000 for East Texas from the Louis and Peaches Owen Family Foundation.
·        $9,250 for Dallas and statewide from King of Glory Lutheran Church.
·        $5,000 for statewide from Keeley Cares Inc.
·        $5,000 for Waco South from Independent Financial.
·        $4,000 for Waco North and Houston from ExxonMobil Corp.
·        $2,500 for Austin East from Fayette Electric Cooperative.
·        $2,500 for Austin East in FEC matching funds from CoBank.
·        $1,500 for Denton County from First United Methodist Church Lewisville.

Capturing Those Photos
By Madison Lopez, Social Media Editor
As summer continues to fly by, we are excited to see your TRP photos on social media! With kids out of school and groups volunteering together to make change in their communities in the summer months, we encourage you to post pictures of smiling faces and hard work.

We can see your photos on social media when you tag us in your photos or when you use the hashtag #TexasRampProject.

Try your best to take photos with good camera quality, and you might see your photos featured on social media or in the newsletter. Here are a few ideas for some fun TRP pictures:
  1. Wave to the camera while you and your team stand on the newly-built ramp with the happy client.
  2. Grab a tool and a friend, tell a joke, and have a team member capture the laugh.
  3. Show off your TRP shirts and gear in front of the camera by smiling and pointing.
  4. Take an action shot of the team working hard! Make sure you capture the moment from the front rather than from behind. We want to see happy faces.
As a reminder, you can now make a donation to TRP online from our social media pages. Go ahead and click that donor button! On Facebook and Instagram, you will now find a convenient link to give. This link is found at the top of our social media pages in our “bio.”

Click it, and you will find yourself at an easy-to-use page to make any size gift. Share and promote this link across your own social media to create a ripple of change-making giving.
Remember to give us a follow and to share your Texas Ramp Project photos by tagging us and using the hashtag #TexasRampProject.

This link is found at the top of our social media pages in our “bio.” Click it, and you will find yourself at an easy-to-use page to make any size gift. Share and promote this link across your own social media to create a ripple of change-making giving. 
Remember to give us a follow and to share your Texas Ramp Project photos by tagging us and using the hashtag #TexasRampProject.

Follow us here: 

Facebook: Texas Ramp Project 
LinkedIn: Texas Ramp Project 
Instagram: @tx_ramp_project

Building Basics
The Importance of 5x5 Modules
by Roy Harrington
Building Basics

This month’s column covers the 5x5 module, which generated several questions right after the May newsletter was distributed. I welcome any feedback you may have as we search for best practices to share with all our build teams. Send any questions or comments to royh85@verizon.net.

The 5x5 module

I will admit, my team does not like building, or installing, 5x5 modules. Lumber and plywood are readily available and fairly easily used when modules are 4’ wide and either 4’ or 8’ long, allowing for minimal cutting, minimal waste and minimal cost (I know, lumber prices are high right now).
The 5x5 requires us to stop and think when cutting the lumber, assembling the module and building it into a ramp, from attaching the module to doing the handrails. So why are they included in ADA specifications, the Texas Accessibility Standards and our ramp build guidelines?
Click on image below for the rest of the story on building 5x5 modules
Churches Mentor Rampers
A vast number of churches across Texas support TRP’s work in their communities. Last month volunteer Brek Blair invited fellow members of Friedens Church in Seguin to join in an upcoming build. Volunteers from Friedens have built 58 ramps for fellow residents of Guadalupe County.

Here is an excerpt:
“Do people see God's love in what you say or in what you do? If so, the Texas Ramp Project might be just for you! We build ramps for people that can't easily get in or out of their own homes and can't afford the expense of hiring a subcontractor. Many of these people are in hospice care or in need of dialysis. Over time, they become prisoners in their own homes with no way in or out because of something as simple as stairs.
“Be a part of something bigger than yourself. Be a part of bringing up there down here and help us build a ramp for a total stranger!”
Thanks, Brek, for sharing your call to ramp No. 59.

From a San Antonio social media photo, the team leader shared a moment in which he and his church group blessed the client and the ramp.
In his words, it was an “awesome weekend.” Keep up the wonderful work.

RAMP OF THE MONTH: Tom Green County, San Angelo

Mr. Cruz C., 80, of San Angelo generally uses a wheelchair as he is on oxygen and has very limited mobility. The team of 10 volunteers from Sierra Vista UMC have been a driving force in the San Angelo Region. The young man using a wheelchair has spina bifida. He will be building more ramps as the Sunday School class his parents are attending is starting a new TRP team.
Cruz is now able to safely come and go from his home using his new 21 foot ramp constructed with 30 hours of volunteer labor.
DO: Please Pass the Newsletter On
We hope you enjoy having the newsletter sent to you directly, as it is filled with useful information, building hints and tips, data collection updates and processes, client stories, special announcements and recognitions.

The newsletter only does its job when it is dispersed and shared with all who might be interested. We encourage you to liberally pass it on to others in your region.

Also, do send email addresses of people in your region who should be receiving it, along with their name and TRP region, to Sandy Knutson at sjkbits@aol.com.

If you prefer to NOT receive the newsletter, you can unsubscribe by emailing sjkbits@aol.com and asking for your name to be removed or use the "Unsubscribe" link below.