LaGrange students lend a hand

Photo by Barry Levine

Photo by Barry Levine

ALBANY -- Jill Dervan is not a carpenter. It was obvious from her two-handed grip on the hammer as she pounded an 8-penny nail into a new wheelchair ramp under construction at a home on Philema Road.

Her carpentry skills matched that of two of her fellow LaGrange College students who were meeting requirements for an organizational leadership class.

The three students -- Dervan, Karen Comer and Judd Schramm -- were on site to assist the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) Ramp Builders with the construction of the ramp.

"We decided to do this as a group, and we wanted to do more than just pay for it," Dervan said. "We enjoy doing something that helps other people; it gives us a real good feeling."

Schramm agreed.

"This feels really good," he said. "It's for a great cause and gives us a warm feeling."

Comer said the project is all about serving the community.

"The leadership class taught us to serve, and this is a culmination of all the classes we've taken in school," Comer said. "There is great satisfaction in helping our fellow citizens."

The RSVP crew, headed by Ramp Coordinator Jim Hill, has been building access ramps for the past 15 years, averaging two ramps per week.

Hill added that his crew of 16 welcomed all the help it could get.

"They are a group of great kids," Hill said of the LaGrange students. "We have a number of school groups that get involved and they are a great help. They seem to enjoy getting involved in the community.

"The materials for this particular ramp were paid for by the LaGrange group and ProBuild. The LaGrange people paid for half the materials, and ProBuild donated the other half."

Those wishing to apply for a ramp can do so through the SOWEGA Council on Aging. Applicants are placed on a waiting list according to need.