When members of the Salt Lake Home Builders Association learned about a single-mother who needed help installing an electric chair lift for her disabled daughter, volunteers sprung into action. And they were quickly reminded that community service often rewards the volunteers as much as those they are helping.
Twelve-year-old Natalie suffers from Rett Syndrome, a rare neurological disorder that can make walking very difficult. As she gets older, her physical abilities continue to deteriorate, making it difficult for her mother to care for her.
Friends raised money for an electric chair lift to be installed in the stairwell of their home, allowing Natalie to be lifted upstairs where she sleeps and throughout the home.
However, outside the home there is a 4-foot difference in elevation from the driveway to the main floor. This meant that Natalie still couldn’t get from the car to her home.
“A friend contacted Leslie Shell, a member of the HBA, who helped find a solution. Steve Dailey, a member and principal of Steven Dailey Construction, volunteered to build a handicapped ramp for the family. Builders FirstSource donated materials and other members also helped,” said Salt Lake HBA EO Jaren Davis.
About eight HBA members helped install Natalie’s ramp. While they were working, Natalie’s sister returned from school and was excited to see the new ramp, knowing how much it would mean to her sister. She wanted to help out, so she immediately went inside and returned about an hour later with several cups of hot chocolate that she proudly served to all the volunteers.
“Each person took a cup whether they wanted one or not. Why? We could see the gift was from her heart; something more than a warm beverage, it was an expression of love and gratitude,” recalled Jaren. “Her family barely has enough to make ends meet and her gift could have been all they had in their pantry. The fact is, she gave us her all, and in doing so; made our small token of service more meaningful than words can express.”
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