The Home Builders Association of Fargo-Moorhead’s Remodelers Council constructed a handicap accessibility ramp for Gladys and Mark VerValin June 9 at their home in West Fargo. The VerValins provided funds for materials while HBA of F-M members coordinated the effort and donated time for the project.
Dakota Construction of Fargo, Inc., coordinated the project. Volunteers from Allied Building Products Corp., Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Showroom, Minnkota Windows, Inc., Rebuilding Together Fargo-Moorhead Area, Inc., Showplace Kitchens and Stone Ridge Builders, Inc., assisted in constructing the ramp.
Mark has myotonic muscular dystrophy (MMD) which affects muscles and many organs in the body, causing him to use a cane or walker. He was also diagnosed with a form of appendix/colon cancer in October 2016. He had laparoscopic surgery, but was unable to have a more complicated surgery to remove much of his intestine and receive chemotherapy due to issues with his MMD.
Gladys says, "Now we are just waiting to see and hoping they were able to get all of the cancer. The surgery last fall has left him very weak, and he's been pretty much homebound since then except for doctor's visits. This ramp will help give him more freedom and to build up some of the strength he's lost."
The VerValins live in a trailer home with stairs that are tough for Mark to navigate without assistance.
"Stairs are so dangerous for Mark because he doesn't have good balance, even with his leg braces, and his hands have no grip. He also has to try to carry his portable oxygen at the same time," Gladys says. "This will be such a relief and a blessing. I have a disability, too, and can't lift much, so this will give us more freedom and allow him to do some everyday things like go down and get the mail."
The Remodelers Council is a committee of the HBA of F-M that deals with issues affecting the remodeling segment of the building industry. Council members continually lend their efforts to these types of charitable projects building two to three ramps a year depending on funding and emergency needs. Projects are generally referred through Freedom Resource Center, an advocacy organization designed to assist people with disabilities in achieving and maintaining independent lifestyles.
The HBA of F-M promotes an environment in which members and their businesses can prosper. It is a non-profit trade association of nearly 900 members that has been in existence since 1956. Its public events include the Spring Parade of Homes, Fall Parade of Homes, Remodeled Home Tour and Red River Valley Home & Garden Show.