By Terry Lipp, Remodelers Council Chair
Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Showroom
The Home Builders Association of F-M’s leaders and many of our members care deeply about the community and giving back to those in need. In the past few months, volunteers from our Remodelers Council have constructed two handicap accessibility ramps for area residents.
West Fargo resident Conrad Meisch received a wheelchair accessibility ramp on April 25.
In December 2015, Meisch was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Meisch recently became wheelchair-dependent. He and his wife were relieved to find out about the partnership with Freedom Resource Center and the HBA’s Remodelers Council to build ramps from Ryan Silbernagel, Silvernail Carpentry.
With nice summer weather coming up, he looks forward to having the freedom to come and go from the house, which he and his family have lived in since 1986. Meisch and his wife, Deb, raised three sons in the home. Two sons now live in Fargo, and one lives near Wahpeton.
“Because of this ramp, I can get out and go to the store with my wife,” Meisch says. “I can also go for walks with her and the dog.”
West Fargo residents Gladys and Mark VerValin received a handicap accessibility ramp on June 9.
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.
Home Builders Associations of FM
Terry Lipp is a builder sales representative with Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Showroom, and has worked there for nearly 15 years. Ferguson Enterprises is a local supplier, supported by a nationwide distribution network of residential products including plumbing fixtures, HVAC products, decorative lighting fixtures and appliances.