LANL Community Partnerships Office in collaboration with nonprofits New Mexico Ramp Project and Mesa to Mesa organize volunteers to help build a ramp for a Northern New Mexican woman with mobility challenges. Courtesy/LANL
BY DAVID MOORE
When asked what she liked most about her day helping build a ramp for a Northern New Mexican with mobility challenges, Laboratory employee Rebecca Chamberlin is clear: “A team of strangers from across the Lab came together to complete a project on a gorgeous fall day in Northern New Mexico. What’s not to love?”
Chamberlin joined eight other volunteers Oct. 21 at the event north of Hernandez, which was organized by the Laboratory’s Community Partnerships Office in collaboration with nonprofits the New Mexico Ramp Project and Mesa to Mesa.
With guidance from Greg Hallstrom of the New Mexico Ramp Project, the volunteers first removed most of an older ramp that was in poor repair and not working well for the homeowner, before building an improved version, which made it much easier for her to get in and out of the house.
“The ramp project was especially meaningful for me because I have a family member whose mobility is limited by Parkinson’s disease,” Chamberlin said.
“I just want to help our community,” fellow volunteer Jonathan Vega said. “The best part of the day was when the lady came outside to thank us for helping her.”
Chamberlin came away with more than the satisfaction of a day well spent.
“I didn’t expect to learn so much!” she said. “Greg wasn’t just trying to get this one job completed, he was constantly present to answer questions and offer tips, and he also pointed out challenges that we might encounter at other locations and explained how they could be addressed.”
The vision of the New Mexico Ramp Project is that no New Mexico residents should lack safe access to their homes because of financial limitations, while Mesa to Mesa’s goal is to provide minor home repairs, free of charge, to low-income homeowners in and around Española to help keep people in their own homes.
“The partnership between Mesa to Mesa and the New Mexico Ramp Project is great because our volunteers build the ramps to improve accessibility for homeowners in need,” said Nancy Jo Nicholas, associate Laboratory director for Global Security, who serves on the board of Mesa to Mesa.