San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

May 5th, 2009
Safe at Home program builds wheelchair ramp for local family

SUBMITTED REPORT

The Safe at Home program at Texas State University began a wheelchair ramp build on Friday, for the Castaneda family of San Marcos.

Texas State student volunteers from the Healthcare Administration department, under the supervision of Seth Lawhead of Lawhead General Contacting, constructed the ramp at 629 Willow Creek Circle. McCoy’s Building Supply donated all the materials for the project.

“The team at McCoy’s first introduced me to the project,” Lawhead said. “They donate the materials every year and the San Marcos store manager, Randy Haas, asked me if I would step in when the contractor the university had been working with had to bow out. That was eight years ago. This is a great project, and I’m happy to donate my time and resources to such a worthy cause.”

The Castaneda family matriarch, Mary Lou Castaneda, cares for her grandchildren in the family home while her daughters are at work. The ramp will allow her granddaughter, Lauren Martinez, 13, to play in the yard with her younger siblings.

“Lauren was premature as a baby and has severe cerebral palsy, so she’s in a wheelchair,” Castaneda said. “My other grandchildren are two and three years old and like to play outside. This ramp will let her go outside to play with the little ones.”

Safe at Home is a volunteer program, grant funded by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Texas Long Term Care Institute, aimed at reducing the risk of death and injury from falls in the home. The program focuses on people who are at high risk for falls, mainly elderly and disabled members of the community.

Program volunteers visit homes of community members weekly to see what minor repairs need to be made to make the home safer. Typical repairs include removing clutter from hallways, installing smoke detectors, installing grab bars in bathrooms, applying slip resistant adhesive in bathtubs and showers, as well as numerous other safeguards.

The program culminates with a semi-annual large-scale build, such as a disability access ramp.

“Right now, we have to do wheelies to go up the steps,” Castaneda said. “This ramp is a real relief for us. Lauren will be able to move around more. It’s going to be a huge help.”

Safe at Home is self-sustaining non-profit organization, operating on donations from members of the community. Contributions from volunteers and organizations such as McCoy’s Building Supply make projects such as building a wheelchair ramp possible.

For more information about making a donation, or if you have someone you’d like to refer to the free program, please contact student program director, Teresa Smith by calling (512) 396-4222.

For information about Lawhead General Contracting, visit www.lgcbuilders.com. To learn more about McCoy’s, visit www.mccoys.com.

— SARAH LOHN

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