Volunteer Spotlight- Rick R.

Hope Builders Stories

Meet Rick, this month’s featured volunteer! Rick has been involved with HopeBUILDERS for many years and we are thankful for his hard work. Read below to find out more about Rick and his experience with us.

How and when did you get involved with HopeBUILDERS?
I started with HopeBUILDER’s five years ago.  I had just retired and was doing a project at my church and had invited several men from church for demolition work.  That included three men from HopeBUILDER’s.  They talked up the organization and I joined soon after.

What are some of your responsibilities within the organization?
My responsibilities include making visits with John Jepson to the clients who need ramps.  I assist him with measurements and taking elevations so that he can prepare the plans.  I also assist on workdays by transporting equipment, supplies and extra lumber that we use to the site and then helping to set up.  Because of that, I also get involved with a lot of the outside groups that build ramps for us.  I primarily work the ramps but will occasionally take on an indoor project.

Why do you volunteer with HopeBUILDERS?
Like many, I now have the opportunity to help people in need.  I’m retired and the kids are out of the house so I have plenty of time to devote.  I also enjoy the comradery we share on the ramp projects, something that I missed when I retired six years ago.  I have a real appreciation for the guys/gals that come out who still have jobs, kids at home, and all that entails.  I have it easy.

If you were to encourage someone else to volunteer with us, what would you say?
My church participated in their second ramp build on March 24th.  What I tell people at church – and I firmly believe it, is that they have the power to change a life in just one day.  We do that when we build a wheelchair ramp for someone.  Prior to that ramp, many of the people were stuck inside their homes, only getting out for doctor’s appointments – and then they had to arrange for help getting them out of the home.  I remember a couple people who had to call the fire department to get them out and then have to wait in their car for the FD to get them back in.  We give people a better opportunity to enjoy a life despite their physical handicap – and we usually do it in a day.

Any favorite memories or projects that stand out?
The kids really get to me.  One in particular was a few years ago in Independence where we had to repair their deck which had collapsed and then build a fairly long ramp.  One of the pictures taken that day is from the upper deck of the boy in his wheelchair down below.  He just looked so small and helpless on that big ramp.  It’s one of those pictures that makes you want to keep coming back again and again.

What makes HopeBUILDERS different than other KC area nonprofits?
What I really like about HopeBUILDER’s is that we actually do something other than throw money at a problem.  We (or Whole Person, Home Depot or some other organization) pay the costs of the projects but then help defray those costs by doing the work ourselves.  That’s quite an achievement.  Throwing money in an offering plate or mailing in a check is important but by doing the work too, we get to meet the people and talk to them.  It’s much more rewarding to meet the person and see what you have done to help them.  I also like the fact that we do a wide variety of projects.  I mainly help with the ramps but I am amazed at all the other things we do to help people.