Matt F. became a paraplegic at age 11 after sustaining a spinal cord injury during a sledding accident. Over the years, he has learned to function independently and recently celebrated several milestones – getting married and purchasing his first home during the past year. Unfortunately, the entrances to the home Matt purchased weren’t accessible, which created challenges as he navigated his wheelchair. 37-year-old Sean R. (above) and 60-year-old Joe G. faced similar challenges getting in and out of their Denver homes due to a recent medical diagnosis and an ongoing degenerative disease, respectively. Thanks to the nonprofit Home Builders Foundation (HBF) and a team of dedicated home builders, vendors and volunteers, Matt, Sean and Joe – as well as 11 other individuals living with physical disabilities – now have mobility ramps that were installed at their homes free of charge in mid-June as part of the annual Blitz Build campaign.
Blitz Build is an annual three-day event during which a series of home ramps are built and installed for individuals across the Denver metro area who have a physical disability. The goal is to provide those individuals with more safety and independence when entering and leaving their homes.Materials and labor are underwritten by sponsors and participating teams so that there is no charge to the clients. Since 2011, more than 200 ramps – valued at nearly $800,000 – have been built and installed as part of the Blitz Build campaign. This year’s presenting sponsor for the 11th annual Blitz Build, which took place between June 10thand 12th, was Fiberon, a U.S. manufacturer of wood-alternative decking, railing and cladding.
Blitz Build is a great way for volunteers to get involved with HBF and support individuals with physical disabilities. “The response from the community has been tremendous,” says Beth Forbes, executive director of HBF who noted that the slots for project crews and volunteers were filled shortly after being announced. Two years ago, HBF started a Train the Trainer program, which provides interested volunteers with a day of classroom education, followed by a ramp installation under the supervision of a skilled HBF construction technician. Eight individuals completed the program earlier this year and then utilized their skills to oversee ramp installations during this year’s Blitz Build – and as needed for other HBF clients throughout the year.
During the 2021 Blitz Build campaign 15 ramps were installed for 14 individuals in the Denver metro area including:
- Ten-year-old Dominic L. is confined to a wheelchair due to multiple conditions including Autism, Cerebral Palsy and Intractable Epilepsy. One of Dominic’s favorite things to do is be outside so a team of volunteers from Berkeley Homes built a mobility ramp and deck to allow him to go outside and enjoy his Castle Rock backyard anytime he wants.
- 12-year-old Hafeez is confined to a wheelchair due to Cerebral Palsy and has had to rely on family members to carry him up and down the stairs to the door. A volunteer crew from OrePac Building Products installed a ramp to provide Hafeez with a safe way to wheel into and out of his Denver home.
- 37-year-old Sean lives with Lance-Adams Syndrome, a rare complication that occurred after he experienced a cardio-pulmonary event when he was 34 that resulted in mobility and cognitive issues. A team of volunteers from My Home Team and Keller Williams Advantage Realty built a deck and ramp so that Sean could live more independently.
In addition to Fiberon, other major sponsors for the 11th annual Blitz Build included Alpine Lumber, Colorado Housing & Finance Authority, FirstBank, Allweather Wood, Boise Cascade, PASCO and Weyerhaeuser.