Disabled American Veterans, a nonprofit organization that provides a variety of services for disabled veterans, recently added a wheelchair-accessible ramp to its Oak Harbor building.
The nonprofit’s local chapter is located on Goldie Road, in the back of the Veterans of Foreign Wars building. The building’s front entrance has a small ramp, but the back entrance only had a set of stairs.
Since Veterans of Foreign Wars and Disabled American Veterans are open during different hours, the building’s back entrance needed its own ramp to make the latter accessible during all its operating hours.
Discussions about the need for a ramp began more than three years ago, according to local Disabled American Veterans representative John Callahan, but between the pandemic and other setbacks, it took the group a while to move forward with its plans.
Eventually, the nonprofit secured a project permit from the Island County Building Department.
“From there, the grunt work began, removing the old steps and railings with jack hammering and digging holes for the footings,” Callahan wrote in a statement to the South Whidbey Record.
Construction on the ramp began this spring and took eight weekends to complete. After fixing a few issues caught in inspection, the nonprofit hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony to unveil the new ramp in late July.
Callahan said between 10 and 20 veterans with wheelchairs will make use of the new ramp, plus plenty of older veterans and their spouses who use canes or walkers and have a hard time getting up and down stairs.
“Getting in is much easier now,” Callahan said. He expressed his gratitude for the many community members who came together to help with the project.