O'Fallon Progress

O’Fallon volunteers are ramping up the good deeds

From left back, O’Fallon Habitat For Humanity President Ken Beeman and Roy Carlson, both Thrivant Financial’s Thrivant Builds/Repairs members look on while Leonard Wojtysiak, of Faith Lutheran Church, works the saw, and Jim Campbell, of Faith Lutheran and the O’Fallon Rotary Club, braces the 2-foot by 4-foot beam for the wheelchair ramp guardrail.
From left back, O’Fallon Habitat For Humanity President Ken Beeman and Roy Carlson, both Thrivant Financial’s Thrivant Builds/Repairs members look on while Leonard Wojtysiak, of Faith Lutheran Church, works the saw, and Jim Campbell, of Faith Lutheran and the O’Fallon Rotary Club, braces the 2-foot by 4-foot beam for the wheelchair ramp guardrail. rkirsch@bnd.com

O’Fallon volunteers are ramping up the good deeds with building a wheelchair ramp for a woman in need.

Ken Beeman, Lewis & Clark Habitat For Humanity O’Fallon chapter president, said he was recently contacted by a local social worker advocating on behalf of her client Monaett Hampton inquiring about help with a much-needed wheelchair ramp for her O’Fallon home.

“She said her client was partially paralyzed after having a stroke very recently,” Beeman said.

As if life couldn’t get harder for Hampton, she is a caregiver too, Beeman said.

“Evidently, she takes care of an invalid who I believe lives with her; so, going back and forth to therapy often has been a challenge for her, so this is the least we could do since she needed some help,” Beeman said.

Hampton’s home has an old rusty electrical wheelchair lift system that has expired and no long works, Beeman said.

“It’s an older model one, and I think the weather and time just did her in,” Beeman noted.

Beeman said he and his collegue Roy Carlson, also a volunteer from Faith Lutheran Church, was a previous co-worker for Thrivent Financial in St. Louis, Mo., so since the two are former members of the company he has worked with the company’s community programs, specifically Thrivent Build Repairs to secure grant funding for local projects like this one.

“We were approved for a grant of $2,500 to complete the wheelchair ramp, but I don’t think we’ll use it all. So, when it’s done, we will submit our receipts to the company for reimbursement, and that’s how the grant works,” Beeman said.

Materials for the ramp were purchased from the O’Fallon Menards, off of Central Park Drive, because Beeman said the business gives about an 11 percent discount tax restatus since it’s nonprofit work.

Beeman expects to only reach $1,500 cap in costs.

Another Faith Lutheran volunteer, Leonard Wojtysiak laughingly said he’s the one doing all the work.

“I’m a gluten for punishment I guess,” Wojtysiak bellowed.

The O’Fallon Food Pantry Golf Tourney chair Carlson said the event recently garnered several thousand dollars.

“So although I like to golf, I try to get my hands dirty with other charitable projects like this,” Carlson said.

The team of volunteers quarterbacked by Beeman started the project on May 21 by digging and implementing the ramps posts, and as of Fri. June 3, the group had the flooring placed and nailed down, and were finishing up measuring, cutting and placing the railing for the L shaped ramp coming off the side of the home.

“We are getting closer. Mainly we just have the railing and spindles, and finishing touches left,” Jim Campbell, Rotary Club of O’Fallon member volunteer, said while bracing a long piece of trim as Wojtysiak cuts with the electrical saw.

In 2016, Thrivent Financial will partner with Habitat to construct, rehabilitate, or repair over 850 homes in the U.S. through the Thrivent Builds Homes and Thrivent Builds Repairs program. The partnership consists of three programs with Habitat for Humanity: Thrivent Builds Homes, Thrivent Builds Repairs and Thrivent Builds Worldwide. These programs allow Thrivent to partner with Habitat and families with limited resources in the construction, rehabilitation, or repair of affordable housing in communities across the United States and abroad. Since 2005 the Thrivent Builds programs have built or repaired thousands of homes in partnership with Habitat Homeowners. For more information visit, www.thriventbuilds.com/.

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