Volunteers build wheelchair ramp for Castle Rock boy

Annual program makes it possible for 10-year-old with disabilities to get outside readily

Thelma Grimes
tgrimes@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 6/21/21

One of 10-year-old Dominic L.’s favorite things to do is to go outside. However, he weighs 95 pounds, is confined to a wheelchair, and his home did not have a ramp or deck to allow him to get …

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Volunteers build wheelchair ramp for Castle Rock boy

Annual program makes it possible for 10-year-old with disabilities to get outside readily

Posted

One of 10-year-old Dominic L.’s favorite things to do is to go outside. However, he weighs 95 pounds, is confined to a wheelchair, and his home did not have a ramp or deck to allow him to get outside.

Now, thanks to an annual program aimed at helping children and individuals with disabilities, Dominic is enjoying backyard sunlight with ease.

Dominic’s mom, Fallon Cranston, said she had been taking him outside by carrying him, but admitted it was getting harder and harder as he continues to grow bigger. Cranston moved with her son to Castle Rock from Adams County last year to a home that had ramp access into the garage, but no deck or ramps around the house.

“Before, the only way I could get him out and about in the backyard was by carrying him,” Cranston said. “Before COVID, we tried to travel some, but last year we were really stuck at home, and he was inside a lot.”

Dominic uses a wheelchair for mobility due to several conditions including autism, cerebral palsy, and intractable epilepsy.

While scrolling Facebook one day, Cranston said she saw something in one of her groups for children with disabilities about programs that help build decks and ramps. The program was Blitz Build, an annual event hosted by the Homebuilders Foundation (HBF).

Blitz Build is an annual three-day event that provides a selection of home ramps and decks built for families across the Denver metro area with children and individuals with disabilities.

“I did not even know there were programs out there like this,” Cranston said. “It was amazing to find out there were groups out there that could do this. I will tell other families. What they did for us was amazing.”

The labor and materials for the project are provided by sponsors and participating teams. Since 2011, when Blitz Build started, more than 200 ramps, valued at $800,000, have been built. The 2021 presenting sponsor is Fiberon, a U.S. manufacturer of wood-alternative decking, railing, and cladding.

Other sponsors for the 2021 Blitz Build were Alpine Lumber, Colorado Housing & Finance Authority, FirstBank, Allweather Wood, Boise Cascase, PASCO, and Weyerhaeuser.

Beth Forbes, executive director of HBF, said building the deck for Dominic is one of many projects throughout the area between June 10 and June 12.

This year, Blitz Build crews constructed 14 ramps for 13 individuals. Altogether, Forbes said HBF had 200 volunteers, along with the experts from Berkeley Homes to lead the projects.

“What we do here is all about bringing a level of safety to families along with improving quality of life,” Forbes said. “We take all of our volunteers and match them with skilled captains.”

For Dominic’s project, Larry Malone, of Berkeley Homes, was named project captain. With a group of 16 volunteers, Malone said they built a 10-by-16-foot deck and ramp in just over four hours.

“The volunteers did a great job,” he said. “This program is so important because it allows us to make one person’s life just a little bit better. In this case, Dominic is going to keep growing and his mom cannot keep carrying him outside. My hat is off to the Home Builders Foundation. They do all the work to make this happen. We show up and build it.”

After construction was complete, Cranston said Dominic immediately started using the deck to go outside.

While actual construction for Blitz Build is only three days per year, applications to help citizens are accepted year-round. Learn more about the program at hbfdenver.org/blitz-build.

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