July 2022 Newsletter
Volume 4, Issue 7
Message from John Laine
TRP's Executive Director
Dear Friends,

Now that we have experienced the joy of double-digit weather, albeit at 4 in the morning, I want to quickly echo my earlier request about canopies. Please get them and use them, as we have discontinued our Best Tan of the Month award. You all won that one!
Please get them and use them, as we have discontinued our Best Tan of the Month award. You all won that one!
Continue to prioritize your referrals, moving the most urgently needed to the top of your list. The referrals that show a dangerous existing ramp are maybe the most serious need. This is because people will continue to use ramps that are not sturdy, are too steep, and have no handrails, keeping themselves in constant peril.
I don't need to tell you what to look for. But it does mean that you need to stay abreast on surveys, since referrals sometimes do not depict the situations accurately. What appears to be vanilla on paper may be rocky road, and vice versa.
Please stay cool and hydrated, John
Recent Grants and Donations
Staying Safe While Building a Ramp
Safety is everyone’s business, particularly when using power tools. We recommend that only seasoned volunteers/team leaders use the power saws.
Always take extra measures when setting up the saws to make sure they are seated correctly.
Also, when operating a saw, wear safety glasses to protect the eyes from flying bits and pieces or from a breeze that could blow sawdust into the eyes.
For more safety tips, download the safety flyer by clicking the button below.

Volunteer of the Month
Richard Graves
Van Zandt County Coordinator, East Texas Tyler Region

Richard Graves has always worked with his hands. Little wonder that he has built over 200 ramps in the past seven years for the Texas Ramp Project. He is seriously into ramps. “Building ramps for the disabled and handicapped has been one of the greatest things I’ve ever done,” he says. And he means it.
A Michigan native, Richard completed high school in Indiana, followed by a four-year stint in Kansas with the U.S. Air Force. After service he moved back to South Bend to work in his dad’s machine shop, followed by stays in Kansas, then school in Nebraska and Arkansas earning a degree in Bible on the G.I. bill. Four kids later, Richard found himself in Canada, starting his professional career as a painter and later, in Denver, with his own painting business.
Richard ended up in Grand Saline, his wife’s hometown, when he retired in 2013. He lost his wife shortly thereafter, but stayed and became involved in a local church. In March 2016, one of the members invited a bunch of members to build a ramp.
“None of us knew what to expect, but we volunteered anyway,” says Richard. “The next week we met with Tom Lewis, team leader for TRP in Wood County, and helped him built a ramp. Two more ramps later with Tom, and we were hooked!”
Richard teamed up with the United Methodist Church in Edgewood in 2018 to start building in Van Zandt County. He worked with Mike Newmann, the county’s team leader, and took over as lead when Mike passed away in 2021. Last year Richard and his crews built 34 ramps in Van Zandt County.
Richard says building ramps has been his greatest fulfillment. “It’s given my life a purpose and direction that I had been searching for but could never find,” he says. His biggest challenge is finding the money to build the ramps. He and his crews ask for donations, scrounge materials, and have secured a huge discount at the local lumber yard.
Although his main love is working with TRP, Richard finds time for fishing and activities at Broad Street Church of Christ in Mineola. He’s also enjoying time with Magdalene, his wife of nine months, who he says is a big help and encouragement.
Mileage Reimbursements
by Peter Heinkel
Gasoline prices have skyrocketed. Most volunteers consider the cost of driving as a donation to charity. Some track the date, purpose and number of miles and utilize them as an itemized tax deduction when completing their IRS Form 1040. The IRS mileage rate for this purpose is 14 cents per mile.

So that volunteers are not inordinately financially burdened and discouraged from volunteering, TRP provides limited reimbursement for mileage. In any calendar month that a person drives more than 100 miles, the mileage over 100 may be reimbursed at the IRS business rate, which will be 62.5 cents per mile effective July 1.
Click through for additional Information about submitting mileage reimbursement.

TRP's Facebook Page for Region Coordinators
by Madison Lopez
Regional Coordinators

We have created a tool on Facebook just for you, and we hope you'll take advantage of it. This is a space where you can engage with other coordinators, ask questions, provide tips, and build community among coordinators.

We set up this Facebook group at the beginning of the year, and many of you had the chance to hear about it at our statewide conference. In addition to the platform being a space for YOU to discuss with one another, we also want to make it a space where WE offer you helpful information and updates.

If you do not have Facebook, do not worry about missing vital information related to TRP. This Facebook group is not intended to take the place of email or the monthly newsletter.
It is meant to serve you in additional capacities, particularly by highlighting important things already in the newsletter and providing an open space for discussing helpful build and organization tips. 

We hope you will find this group useful and community-oriented.

If you have not already been added to the group, either (1) add "Madison Celeste" as a friend to be added, or (2) reach out via email to [email protected] with your name and Facebook name to be added. 

Finally, don't be shy about interacting in the Facebook group! Have an idea or tip? Share it. Have a fun or touching TRP picture you think other coordinators would appreciate? Post it. Need some TRP encouragement?
Ask for it.
Remember to follow us on our main social media pages as well.
Building Basics Manual Updated
by Roy Harrington
Building Basics
The objective of this column is to share the basics of ramp building from dimensional, slope and other requirements to best practices, tips and tricks for simplifying the survey, design and building of ramps.

This month’s article is a compilation of all the articles (from May 2021 through June 2022), all in one downloadable document. The first few sections cover the survey process highlights, followed by module construction and assembly of the ramp. From there, the 5x5 module is specifically presented, and then the pros and cons of several handrail designs are featured. The remaining sections include jigs, tips and tricks submitted by multiple TRP team members across the state. Most of this was distributed at the statewide conference, but this document includes the four articles published since we met in Austin. 
Do you have other tips or suggestions to share?
You don’t want to be stuck reading about my ideas, and I know there are a lot of very good ideas being developed by ramp builders across the state.

Please send any questions, comments or potential ramp construction topics to: [email protected] to help others build ramps better, stronger and faster.

Ramp of the Month
Bandera County
San Antonio Northwest Region

The team Golfers Fore Others, headed by Chris Buckingham, faced an unusual challenge in building a ramp for Mr. H., a 58-year-old Bandera man who walks with canes or a walker. For the second week in a row, the team ran into restrictions in how to build the ramp. Due to the 49-inch height of the threshold, they would have had to build a 60-foot ramp, which would have put it over the septic tank.

So their ingenuity took hold, and they came up with the perfect solution. Because Mr. H. did not use a wheelchair, they were able to give him much easier access to his home by building a series of platform steps. Mr. H. was delighted to be able to go up and down the steps at will. The team donated 38 hours of labor for this referral, which came from the Community Council of South Central Texas.
Pass the Newsletter On to Others
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 [email protected].

If you prefer to NOT receive the newsletter, you can unsubscribe by emailing [email protected] and asking for your name to be removed or use the "Unsubscribe" link below.
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.