Dear Friends,

Another year with seemingly more folks than ever needing ramps. As you go forth to serve the elderly and disabled this month, please allow me to suggest an area where we can serve without creating sawdust and driving screws.

Naturally the physical installation of an access ramp is our primary mission. But, we can do something else that may be just as badly needed by our clients—talk to them. It is not uncommon for us to have volunteers on site who don’t really want to drive screws or saw wood. It has been my experience that a conversation with another adult is often as badly needed as a ramp.
So I suggest that one of your volunteers sit down and talk with the client. All COVID-19 rules need to be maintained, of course—masks, safe distancing, etc.—but simply chatting with the client is something that we can do while the ramp is being installed.

I would love to get some feedback of any conversations that take place. The humanity of our volunteers is undisputed, and sharing that quality could be one of the things most needed by our clients.

Let’s hear their life stories.

Stay warm,

Bouncing Back in 2021
Statewide Conference Coming Up

Region coordinators and key volunteers from across the state have been invited to attend the Texas Ramp Project’s 2022 conference in Austin on February 18–19. The meeting will focus on nuts and bolts issues to include creating healthy regions, finding funding, optimizing the organization, and building better ramps. If you have any questions or issues you would like to have discussed, be sure to contact your region or county coordinator so they can bring them to the meeting.
Volunteer Spotlight
Bob Brown: Warehouse Manager, Dallas Region
The seamless operation of a project as big as TRP’s Dallas region comes down to excellent overall coordination and efficient warehouse operations.

Gary and Linda Stopani see to the coordination. Bob Brown handles the warehouse—a job he has held over 15 years. Success is evident. The Dallas
End-of-Year Funding Breaks Records
December was a stellar fundraising month for TRP, with over $300,000 added to the coffers. Grants and donations came from a variety of foundations and other organizations, plus a record amount from private individuals. Kudos to area coordinators, their fundraising committees, and individual volunteers for their efforts on behalf of their regions.
St. David’s Foundation has again blessed the Texas Ramp Project with a generous grant. This time it’s for $125,000, of which $25,000 will support TRP’s statewide conference in February. The remaining $100,000 will be divided among the Austin Central, North and South regions.
Other December grants and donations include the following:
  • $50,000 for San Antonio from the Baptist Health Foundation of San Antonio.
  • $15,000 for McAllen from the Raul Tijerina Jr. Foundation.
  • $10,000 for San Angelo from The James B. & Lois R. Archer Charitable Foundation.
  • $10,000 for Dallas from the Katherine Carmody Trust.
  • $10,000 for Lubbock from the CH Foundation.
  • $10,000 for Texarkana North and Texoma from St. Joseph’s Community Foundation.
  • $7,500 for Amarillo from the C.J. & Syble Fowlston Charitable Trust.
  • $5,000 for Amarillo from the Josephine Anderson Charitable Trust.
  • $5,000 for Wichita Falls from the J.S. Bridwell Foundation.
  • $5,000 for East Texas Tyler from the Bob L. Herd Foundation.
  • $5,000 for San Antonio Northeast from the Rotary Club of New Braunfels.
  • $5,000 for East Texas Tyler from the TVEC electric cooperative.
  • $4,000 for Austin North from the Rotary Club of Georgetown.
  • $2,000 for Austin South from First Presbyterian Church in San Marcos.
  • $2,000 for Austin East from the Giddings Lions Club.
  • $2,000 for Wichita Falls from Our Redeemer Lutheran Church.
  • $1,000 for San Antonio South from Keeley Cares, Inc.
  • $600 for East Texas Tyler from the Ed & Mary Heath Foundation.
  • $500 for Wichita Falls from the Tom C. White Foundation.
  • $250 for Wichita Falls from the Bill & Jan Foundation.
Welcome, TRP Board Member
Mark Hinzman
Mark Hinzman dreamed of becoming a sportscaster. After receiving a certification in broadcasting from Brown College in Minneapolis, he landed a job at a small radio station in Wisconsin. He was disc jockey, sports director, news director and commercial writer. When reality set in (poor pay and bad hours),

Mark moved on to corporate employment. But, he says, the skills he developed in radio have served him well in his sales and management roles.

As the newest member of TRP’s board of directors (he joined in November), Mark will put those skills to good use. His
focus will be on meeting with corporate partners and donors in pursuit of volunteer and financial support. Mark has followed the development of TRP for many years. With his retirement set for March, he was more than ready to come on board.
“One of the greatest gifts my parents provided to me was the gift and spirit of generosity,” says Mark. “Be generous with your time, talents and financial resources! The timing is perfect, as in retirement I will have more time to give to TRP and other things I volunteer for.”
A native of Wisconsin, Mark landed in Dallas in 1981 with no job and a single acquaintance. He quickly found a job selling yellow pages ads at GTE Directories. Two years later he moved to GTE Sprint, where he spent 22 years in regional sales, business applications and operations. He has spent the last seven years in sales management and business development for Samsung, retiring as senior manager, software and services.
2021 Social Media Success
By Madison Lopez, Social Media Editor
With your help, TRP's social media presence in 2021 stretched farther than it ever has.On Facebook, we surpassed a milestone of 2,000 page likes.On Instagram, we connected with over a dozen high school and college-aged volunteer groups. We joined YouTube and officially posted our first video.
And most importantly, we participated in the joyous and heartfelt moments shared across our feeds. We built community and we enjoyed community by participating in the sharing, the "liking," and the commenting. While we may be spread across the great state of Texas, our photos and stories brought us a bit closer as a TRP family this year.
We are thankful to all who have joined us on this social media journey, helping us share the stories of those impacted by TRP and working to get the word out about fundraising and volunteering. We could not have made as impressive a digital footprint this year without you. 
Check out our top two posts from Facebook this year, collectively viewed by over 3,000 people.
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
Improved Slope Jig
and Rules and Solutions
by Roy Harrington
Building Basics
For this month’s column we have an improvement on a jig from last month and a question about what local rules you have to meet when surveying and building ramps and what your solutions are. Please send any questions, comments or suggested construction topics to
Improved Slope Jig
Everything can be improved, and that includes one of the jigs in last month’s newsletter. If you have used the level and 4” block, I can bet that the level and block have fallen off the module at some point. Randy Kerkman, our Austin Central regional coordinator, has an improved version that solves this problem. He got it from a former Austin team leader and warehouse manager. The addition of a 4”x 10” piece of plywood on either side of the block. It will hold it and the 4’ level in place while the module is aligned and attached. To view examples of the addition, click on the image.
Rules and solutions
I am interested in learning what local rules each of you has to follow, from specific ramp requirements like dimensions and handrail design to whether or not you have to get permits and if you have to pay for them. Any information you send to me in time will help us in planning the construction section of our upcoming statewide conference.
Click on image below for the examples of Improved Slope Jigs and Rules and Solutions
For example, the team I led in North Texas only had to get permits in one of the towns we served, but the fee was always waived. Like most teams, we were trained directly by John Laine, who joined us for our first three builds. So the design and construction methods all followed his guidance from many years ago.

The rules for our teams in Austin are probably the strictest, requiring permits and some changes to our “standard” design to meet the requirements.
Let me know if you have any special requirements in your area. We will compile the information for a future newsletter and for discussion at the conference in February.

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

RAMP OF THE MONTH: Shackelford County
Abilene Region

Ms. Judy T.'s ramp was the subject of a video sent last month to Beltway Park Church in Abilene, which awarded TRP a $15,000 grant in November 2020 through the Community Foundation of Abilene. Judy's 33-foot ramp was built by seven volunteers from the Abilene Kiwanis Club and Albany Lions Club. They spent a total of 32 man-hours to build the ramp. Judy uses a walker, so the steps to her home were dangerous for her to use. In fact, EMS had been called several times to help her safely navigate the old steps. With her new ramp, she can now safely come and go without fear of a fall.
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

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