Have you ever awoken to the sound of neighbors performing home renovations or a construction company putting up a new home? Chances are, many of us Puget Sound area residents can answer with an emphatic, “Yes!”
Pounding hammers and whizzing electric saws can be annoying—especially as a wakeup call—but for a few King and Snohomish County residents this past Saturday, May 19, the sounds of construction were music to their ears.
That’s because May 19 happened to be the 25th anniversary of Rampathon, a uniquely impactful event produced annually by the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties. Since 1993, some 500 residents and service organizations have been gifted free wheelchair access ramps which make transportation much easier and safer for individuals and families.
Here’s how it works. Each year, applicants from across King and Snohomish counties send their requests to the Master Builders Association in hopes of getting a ramp. Association member companies then form teams to build or help build the ramps, typically for a home near their place of business or primary area served. The number of ramp recipients grows each year, which is a testament to the dedication of the volunteer builders who dedicate their free time (on a Saturday morning—gasp!) to give their community members the freedom to move about without hesitation or fear.
Meet Kevin Sun. Kevin has muscular dystrophy, which makes getting to and from home difficult for him and his dad, Zuo. The Suns contacted the Master Builders Association in hopes of receiving a ramp and adding some ease to their daily routine. The suns were one of 48 families and organizations to receive a ramp this year. “The ramp is going to be very helpful,” says Zuo. “It’s going to help my son a lot to get in and out of the house.”
And what does Kevin think of his home’s new addition? “He’s very excited about the ramp,” Zuo continues. “We really appreciate the crew.”
The “crew” is the Lochwood-Lozier Custom Homes team led by James Wang and Craig Tschetter. Lochwood-Lozier is a custom homebuilder located in Redmond and Rampathon regular. In fact, several Master Builders Association members choose to participate in the program year after year, some completing two and even three ramps at a time. Most volunteers find the ear-to-ear smiles and genuine excitement to be contagious, and so they look forward to that one day in May when neighbors helping neighbors becomes the primary project.
For the Suns, their ramp will be a daily reminder of how a seemingly simple gesture can provide such a powerful impact. For James and Craig and the rest of the Lochwood-Lozier team, witnessing the smiles on Kevin and Zuo’s faces will do the same.