Construction ramps up for one group in Marathon County aiming to help people with mobility issues

Ramp Up Marathon County
Published: Jun. 8, 2022 at 8:06 AM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - Construction is ramping up across Marathon County for a group that is working to help lower-income adults with mobility issues.

Ramp Up Marathon County is building its first ramp of the 2022 season on the southwest side of Wausau. The group has been building ramps and steps for people in the county for the last six years to allow them to stay in their homes.

People who receive the ramps have to qualify for one through an application from the Aging and Disability Resource Center of Central Wisconsin and Midstate Independent Living Consultants, Inc. Once they get approved, the volunteers from Ramp Up get the referral, study the site in which the ramp will be built, draw up a design, and then get to work.

The construction manager for Ramp Up Marathon County, Ray Nowaczyk, said most of the volunteers are retired, however, they love to do the work because of its benefits.

“Oh, it’s a great, great activity. It benefits our group doing it. As far as just the camaraderie of guys. We’ve had some women working with us too, so the camaraderie and accomplishing something neat for somebody has a good feeling,” Nowaczyk said.

The ramps are installed at no cost to the ramp receiver. The group of volunteers is sponsored by the ADRC of Central Wisconsin and Midstate Independent Living Consultants, Inc. There are also many foundations, businesses and people throughout the county who then support the work through donations to cover material costs.

The woman receiving the first ramp being built this season is Amanda Johnson. She said she has been living with an autoimmune disease for the last five years. Johnson said she used to be very active, however, when she was diagnosed with the disease, she lost control of her health. That made her move back to Wisconsin from Tennessee so her family could help take care of her.

“I’m so excited for this opportunity. I have been waiting since, I guess, the fall of last year. And I just think this program is amazing. These guys have been awesome coming out here just laughing and having a great time. And you can tell they really appreciate what they do. And I do too. What a wonderful opportunity for the elderly or disabled, to get the needs that we need in order to feel more independent,” Johnson explained excitedly. “I’ve been anywhere from a cane to a walker to a wheelchair. So I just never know from day to day what I’m gonna need. And so this ramp is absolutely a necessity for me.”

For more information, contact a Resource Specialist at the Aging and Disability Resource Center of Central Wisconsin at 715-261-6070 or 888-486-9545, or Alex Lena at Midstate Independent Living Choices, Inc., 800-382-8484. Ramp Up Marathon County is a program of Midstate Independent Living Choices, Inc.

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