Hard to believe we are are going into the holiday season. This means it’s time to explore our options for year-end giving from all of our faithful donors and, hopefully, from a few new ones as well.

Churches, specifically, may be willing to fund a Christmas ramp. The earlier we make our pitch, the greater our chances of success. Your earnest efforts in this regard will be greatly appreciated.

Also, let’s get some Christmas ramp builds scheduled for the first Saturday in December. A fabulous time to dress up at a build site in elf caps and red scarves and generate news blurbs from local media—newspapers and television.

That could easily net you some extra dollars for lumber. Maybe you can work a deal to spend a morning in front of a Home Depot, Lowe’s or McCoy’s in your TRP caps and t-shirts and an empty bucket? After all, the funds will be spent at those very places.
Following up on last month’s column, did any of you seek out Young Men’s Service League (YMSL) volunteers for your respective areas? With the weather comfortable now, be sure to contact those aging volunteers and invite them back. If you don’t do that now, you may lose them forever. The combination of YMSL and senior volunteers is a real winner.

That’s about all for now. Just remember to report your builds promptly so we can go into the New Year with accurate numbers for planning and reporting purposes.
I'm so grateful for you and all that you do for others.
Happy Thanksgiving.
It's Time for Year End Giving

As you're deciding where to give your tax deductible year end giving, consider the Texas Ramp Project by making an making a new or additional financial gift. Possibly in honor or memory of a loved one or some other special reason.

Remember TRP is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.organization.
It only takes a few moments to make your gift. Click on the Donate button below to make your gift. Upon completing your donation, you will receive confirmation that can be used for tax purposes.

From TRP throughout the state we thank you for your generosity and wish you a wonderful holiday season.

FEBRUARY 18 & 19, 2022
Volunteer Spotlight

Steve Ulrick: Coordinator, Wichita Falls Region
Steve Ulrick grew up in Minnesota, but he came to Wichita Falls in 1969 and fell in love with the city. Perhaps that’s why he joined up with the Texas Ramp Project—because of his professed idea of assisting others and helping out the community he loves.
Steve was a military brat. Growing up, he attended 13 different schools, including attending first grade in a one-room country school. He joined the Air Force at graduation and trained as a technician at Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls. His 23-year career included assignments in Illinois, Alaska, Japan and Belgium. Eventually he volunteered to return to Sheppard and bought the same house they had lived in earlier. They remain there 40 years later.
After retiring from the Air Force, Steve worked at Levi’s and Cryovac as an electromechanical technician, retiring in 2015. He was a part-time technician/trainer for another five years. 
Steve got involved with TRP through his church, Our Redeemer Lutheran in Wichita Falls. He volunteered to lead the region in the fall of 2018. He worked with John Laine to learn how to do surveys, build ramps, and generally set up the region. In 2020, in spite of the pandemic, he and his various teams managed 12 ramps. So far this year they have built another 15, with three pending in November.

Along the way Steve recruited volunteers from Our Redeemer and St. Paul’s Lutheran Churches, as well as Navy Seabees and Army students from Sheppard AFB. Steve handles referrals and surveys and designs the ramp on his computer. He has also scrambled to find local funding. But working with volunteers, he says, is the best part of the job.
Steve and Susan have been married for 52 years and have two sons. Their nine grandchildren range in age from 11 to 27. He is active at church and in the community. He also loves to garden and take on home renovation projects. He and Susan enjoy cruising and have traveled to many parts of the world. About TRP, he comments: “My favorite part is the reaction I receive from the person and family members who need the ramp. It has given me a fulfillment that was totally unexpected.”
Grants Received
Bowlers to Veterans Link for Austin Area
The Austin North region has received a $5,000 grant for Williamson County from the Bowlers to Veterans Link. This is an organization that provides funding for veterans across the country. Our grant was obtained by Larry Baird through David Kellerman at Mel’s Lone Star Lanes in Georgetown. The Texas Ramp Project built ramps last year for more than 200 veterans and over 2,000 since inception.
Other November grants and donations include the following:

  • $15,000 for Texarkana North from The RAM Foundation.
  • $11,778 for Dallas and statewide from Toyota employees and matching funds.
  • $10,000 for Austin South from The Mitchell Foundation.
  • $5,000 for East Texas Emory from the Wood County Electric Cooperative.
  • $2,200 for Dallas from the Texas Instruments Foundation.
  • $2,000 for Houston from the National Christian Foundation.
  • $1,250 for San Antonio South from United HealthCare.
  • $1,250 for Comal County from St. John’s Episcopal Church in New Braunfels.
  • $1,000 for Temple/Belton from the Temple Founder Lions Club.
  • $1,000 for East Texas Tyler from Wells Fargo.
  • $750 for McAllen from the South Texas Electric Cooperative.
Sandy Knutson - Director of Administration

If you don’t know Sandy Knutson already, you probably will now. As of November 1, Sandy has stepped down from the Texas Ramp Project board and up to a newly created position of director of administration. She will be responsible for TRP operations, including strategic planning, marketing and communications, budgeting and fundraising.

Sandy is one of the few current board members who were present at TRP’s inception in 2006. As a charter member, she wrote the first grant to St. David’s Foundation in Austin, receiving $20,000. St. David’s has continued to support TRP’s Austin region for 15 years, most recently with a grant of $90,000 for 2021.  
Sandy left the board a few years later because of work and excessive travel, but returned in 2015 and has handled reports to donors ever since. Because of TRP’s prolific grant activity, she writes upwards of 60 reports per year. She orchestrated the 2019 statewide conference in Austin and the “100 Miles of Freedom” celebration last December. She edits TRP’s monthly newsletter. And that’s just the beginning.

Sandy comes to the operations position naturally. She taught school for 11 years, then moved into employment development for probationers and parolees and then to provide rehabilitation counseling for injured workers. She became an expert in traumatic brain injury (TBI) and worked for 25 years in that field, conducting needs and resources assessments and policy analysis for the State of Texas and then for the federal TBI Program..

Her last five years were spent as a contractor for the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, better known as NORC, where she coordinated the Federal TBI Leadership Meeting, other meetings, webinars and provided technical assistance to states as they developed services and supports for individuals with TBI. She is eminently qualified to plan and execute TRP’s upcoming statewide conference in Austin in February 2022.

Daughter of a Lutheran pastor, Sandy was born in North Dakota,
grew up in Wisconsin, and graduated from Carthage College in Illinois. She lived in Idaho for 25 years, along with Santa Fe, Albuquerque and Austin before moving to Dallas in 1997. She retired in 2015.
Coming back to TRP was a natural for Sandy. Having worked in disability management for so many years, she could easily see how TRP filled a gap in the social services delivery system. “The fact that TRP is all-volunteer driven, meets an enormous need, brings instant joy to all involved and is totally replicable…what could be better?” she says.
Sandy and her late husband, John, were married for 52 years and have two grown sons. Her four granddaughters, ages 11 to 21, all live in the Dallas area. She is a member of King of Glory Lutheran Church and a founding member of the church’s Rebels with a Cause core planning team, which focuses on social justice issues. She also leads several Bible studies and is on the board of the church’s GUSTO! speakers program.
Sandy loves to read and admits to buying too many books. Her “gee-whiz” fact is that she has been to all 50 states and at least 25 state capitol buildings. But her focus right now is helping TRP become all it can be: “TRP is one of the many areas in my life that I feel God has called me to become involved.”
 Free Hilti Tools!

Hilti tools are now available at no cost and can be shipped directly to your location. Gary Stopani has a list of available tools you can order. They include impact drivers, circular saws, reciprocating saws, drills, hammer drills and angle grinders. They can be corded or cordless. The cordless tools come with two batteries and a charger. Contact Gary at glstopani@verizon.net for the order form and other information.
TRP Social Media Updates & Announcements
By Madison Lopez, Social Media Editor
TRP's social media is looking forward to seeing pictures of you and your groups volunteering while bundled up as we head into the cooler months. Check out the following updates and reminders to stay on top of all things TRP social media-related.

  1. We are now on YOUTUBE! Search "Texas Ramp Project" on YouTube and follow our channel as we begin adding content that ranges from TRP-featured newsreels to promo videos and other useful information.
  2. CONGRATULATIONS to the Kiwanis Club of New Braunfels for being October's social media post of the month! Way to post vibrant and fun photos that got everyone's attention! Give them a follow on Facebook @KiwanisNB.
  3. Remember to include the location of your build as well as a smiling face when posting a photo to social media. This increases the audience's engagement with the post and brings awareness to where TRP is doing work.
  4. Continue to tag us and use the hashtags #TexasRampProject and #TRP so we can create greater visibility for the awesome photos being posted. This helps our social media manager as well as the greater community see your post more easily in one organized place.
  5. Tell your friends to follow us on all platforms so they can learn more about TRP and stay encouraged by all the work happening across the state.

Just like we are connecting with people in our communities through volunteering, we can create connection to the Texas Ramp Project by being active in the online community. While the "real" work is done in-person, that impact is bolstered by getting the word out about volunteering and donating. Your posts work to make that happen. Let's build a thriving online community as we continue to build a strong volunteering community.

Remember, you can use the hashtags #TexasRampProject or #TRP to share with our community. Tag us in your photos, and follow us here:

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

Building Basics
Handrail Termination
by Roy Harrington
Building Basics
For this month’s column, we will look at the end of a ramp, focusing mostly on how to terminate the handrail. Please send any questions, comments or suggested construction topics to royh85@verizon.net.

Handrail Termination
While searching for handrail design pictures for the September newsletter, I noticed that several different handrail ending variations are in use. As mentioned in a couple previous newsletters, there are parts of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Texas Accessibility Standards that are difficult, or impossible, for us to meet, and ending the handrail is one of those challenge areas.

The rules say to extend a minimum of 12 inches beyond the end of the ramp and recommend curving down and back to the last upright. Our ramp design and materials used don’t allow us to meet these criteria, so we have to get as close to the spirit as possible. This means extending the handrail as close to the end of the ramp as possible while still supporting the user and not “sharpening” it to a point, which could be dangerous for someone entering the ramp.  
Most of the pictures I collected for this month do a good job, but I also found a couple examples that don’t extend far enough, which can create a trip hazard. A couple also look like they might be unstable in use, which is not what we want from a handrail.

First, we have a couple which are fairly well rounded off, but they don’t extend very far past the last uprights, which can leave an unprotected tripping hazard due to the kick board.

At the other extreme are a couple that appear to protect the end of the ramp but extend so far, they may be unstable in use.

What design do you use, or do you have other tips or suggestions to share?

Please let me know if you have found a way to build ramps better, stronger or faster that might help other teams in the state. Send your comments, suggestions or other ideas to royh85@verizon.net.
Click on image below for the examples of handrail terminations.
Letter to the Editor Promoting TRP

The Dallas Morning News

October 10, 2020
Aging at home with dignity

Re: “Growing Old at Home — Texas’ aging population requires a rethinking of long-term care,” Friday Editorials.

Aging at home with dignity and family support is what most older adults want and what public policy should pursue because it costs less to support people in their homes. Certainly state and local officials as well as nonprofits can and must provide solutions.

The Texas Ramp Project is one of those nonprofits. Since 1985 this volunteer organization has provided free wheelchair ramps to low-income older adults and others with mobility issues, first in Dallas and, since 2006, across the state. Over the years the Texas Ramp Project has built more than 21,000 ramps — 5,600 of them in Dallas. If every one of those clients ended up in a care facility, the cost would be astronomical.

The beauty of the Texas Ramp Project, and many other nonprofits, is that it is volunteer-driven. The ramps help the aging to stay at home in familiar surroundings where they are loved and cared for. Costs are borne by donors, and ramps are always free to clients. Never underestimate the good that comes from neighbors helping neighbors.

Kay Champagne, Plano

RAMP OF THE MONTH: Bexar County,
San Antonio Central Region

Mr. Mike G., 77, uses a rollator and wheelchair which were impossible to navigate with a wheelchair and very unsafe to access with a rollator. Mike's daughter assists him by pushing his wheelchair but was very fearful of falling while assisting her father. With the new 27 foot ramp Mike will be able to safely come and go to his frequent infusion treatments and other medical appointments. 

Abiding Presence Lutheran Church and Mike’s family members donated 45 hours in building the ramp.
This says it all: Freedom!
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.