BIG IMPACT WITH LIONS CLUB SERVICE PROJECTS Lions Ramp Up Community Construction Eight years ago Milton, Delaware, Lions built a wheelchair ramp. The work was tough, but Lions proved tougher. They kept on building ramps and were soon joined by members of the Lewes, Dewey Beach, Midway and Rehoboth Beach Lions Clubs. By the end of last year, 42 had been built, all compliant with state and local building codes. “The cost of a ramp typically would be between $1,500 and $2,500. Amounts vary depending on size,” says Milton Lion Carla Preston, who’s helped build several ramps. Lions have become adept at working together. “Through the years, those working on the project have developed systems of construction to reduce construction, assembly and cleanup time, and project completion. When a request for a ramp is received and then approved, the site is viewed, measured for deck construction and ramp ascent-descent requirements,” Preston points out. Pre-built sections are delivered directly to the ramp site and then assembled. After assembly, the deck railings are smoothly finished by Lions to prevent splinters. “This project requires not only the time, skill and commitment of Lions, it requires the generosity of others to provide materials needed for construction,” Preston says. A local lumber company and church group have been their biggest contributors. When a ramp is no longer needed, Lions disassemble it and if the sections are still usable, “recycled as much as feasible and safe,” she adds. A construction project is a great way for Lions to interact and get to know one another, but Preston advises clubs to first familiarize themselves with local building codes. “Encourage the participation of new and inexperienced workers. Everyone can do something even if it’s cleanup or assisting a more skilled worker,” she says. However, she emphasizes, not lightly, possibly the most important point for clubs undertaking any building project: “Teach, stress and always use safety rules for handling power tools—especially power nail guns and chop saws.” Lion Mike Mock believes ramp construction will become even more critical as the population ages, although he says Lions have also constructed them for children confined to wheelchairs. “It has taken all five clubs in our zone to keep up with the growing demand for ramps,” he says. “The rate of requests has been accelerating the last two years.”
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