Lions Club Bulletin
Big Flats, New York

Membership Chair

Lion Audrey Manchester -- 739-1915

Lion Nicole Burt -- 562-3520
Lion John Farr -- 562-7621

September, 2014
Events Calendar:
  Sep 8th @ 6:30PM Dinner / Regular Club Meeting at the American Legion.
  Sep 15th @ 7:00PM Board of Directors Meeting.
  Sep 22nd @ 6:30PM Dinner / Regular Club Meeting at the American Legion.
  Oct 10-13 Coffee Rest Stop at Kanona
  Oct 27th First of 10 bi-weekly drawings for the 50/50 Raffle
  Nov 8th Scouting for Food

Club News & Board Action - Lion John Farr:
As I ease back into "news-gathering" mode, I'll get better at taking notes at meetings so I can report back to you. This month we are fortunate to have a wonderful story contributed by Lion Bill Powell. Thanks Lion Bill!

Building a wheelchair ramp - by Lion Bill Powell:
It is early morning on a quiet residential street in one of the nearly dozen municipalities between Pine City and Pine Valley. About 7:45 a car pulls up to a house, a man gets out and unloads carpentry tools. Over the next 15 minutes another half dozen more cars and pickups arrive. By 8:00 the crew is assembled and equipment is set up. The driveway holds several sets of saw horses and a professional grade compound miter saw on its own stand.

All the men are about the same age; old enough to be retired but young enough to still do heavy work. Some wear caps showing they are members of the Big Flats Lions Club. The men greet each other, check on health issues and injuries (a common topic for older people), hear news of a new granddaughter and discuss the day's project.

A truck from Chapel Lumber arrives and unloads material; pressure treated lumber, exterior grade plywood, concrete pavers and boxes of hardware. Half the crew sorts the lumber into different piles by size and then lifts the plywood onto a pair of sawhorses. The other half converges on the door of the house to discuss the design to be built. Soon the saw is heard followed by the sound of screws being driven by battery powered hand drills.

By 9:30 the porch and stairs of the house are covered by a level platform consisting of a frame of 2X6's decked with plywood. The platform's vertical support posts extend up 34 inches above the decking so 2x4's can be attached to make railings. About now a car stops at the site bringing coffee and donuts for the crew. Usually someone is heard to say "we work for coffee and stop for donuts" as everyone takes a short break.

Soon a 4X8 frame is anchored to one side of the platform. This frame points toward the driveway and is adjusted to slope down at the magical one inch down for each foot of length. The slope is checked with a 4 foot level with Al's special 4 inch block under one end. Support posts are added. A concrete paver is placed under any support post that does not stand on the porch or a solid sidewalk.

The crew divides itself into several groups. One group makes and attaches the frames. One screws down the plywood decking. One follows behind the growing ramp adding railings along the sides. All the while Tom, the designated sawyer, saws frame pieces, posts and railings amid a growing pile of scrap lumber and saw dust. As the ramp grows from the high end down only lifting and placing the heavy plywood sheets brings the crew together unless a problem develops. Then all hands get to weigh in on what to do.

About 11:30 lunch is brought out. It's a platter of assorted subs, condiments in plastic tubs and a bag of chips. There is coffee and bottled water to drink. A couple of crew members pull out plastic knives so mayo and/or mustard can be spread on the subs. Crew members sit on saw horses, the edge of the ramp or the tail gate of a truck to eat. The chatter during lunch is typically about today's project or possible future projects or relations with the local code enforcement officer.

After lunch the crew goes back to work. Soon there is only one section of ramp left to build. This last section is hard, usually the hardest of all pieces. Often it is shorter than the normal 8 feet. Trenches are dug in the lawn to bury the end of the frame so the plywood decking can touch the paved surface. If the frame extends over the pavement then it has to be tapered to allow the decking to contact. The end of the plywood is cut at about 30 degrees to eliminate the step up from the drive to the top of the ¾ inch thick plywood.

Often about now the person needing the ramp or a family member comes out and tries the ramp. They usually wear a big smile as they go down and then back up. For crew members seeing that smile makes this the most rewarding minute of the entire day.

Once the deck is on the last section of ramp and the railings finished, the crew switches to clean up mode. Extra unused materials go into one pickup. Lumber scraps go into another. The miter saw goes into a third vehicle. Personal tools are collected and returned to vehicles. One person goes over the ramp with a big electric sander smoothing out the joints in the decking and rounding off the ends of railings and posts. Another sweeps up and discards saw dust.

Team members say good-bye and head out. They leave tired but satisfied that they have helped a neighbor and knowing that next week or next month there will be a call about another person needing a ramp and hoping to watch one grow from their house to their driveway. The next house on a quiet residential street will be number 34 for this four year old ramp building crew.

Bill Powell - August, 2014

Editor’s Note:
News items and other submissions from Club members are always welcome! Please feel free to send any announcements or other items of humor or interest.


Published: 09/07/2014
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