This story aired on KOTA Television July 25, 2012, Story by Abby Carter. A transcript of the story may be found here.
(Above: Leland Fryer, student disassembles railing on existing deck to allow clearance for wheelchair ramp)
A double dose of community service was given Wednesday in Box Elder when the Job Corps partnered with NeighborWorks to build a wheelchair ramp for retired veteran Jerry Felts.
Felts has struggled with his health since 1995. “I can hardly get up the steps,” said Felts. But Wednesday he stood on his porch watching what he calls a godsend. “I can’t describe it. It’s wonderful.”
Young men from the Box Elder Job Corps dug and measured their way to building Felts a ramp, but Job Corps leaders know there is a bigger picture for students in the program. “They can go in the community and give back. You know, provide some community service and at the same time sharpen their skills for when they graduate and go home and seek employment,” said Business and Community Liaison Jeff Hayward.
Lead carpentry instructor for Box Elder Job Corps, Lance Steinberg said working with the students is rewarding. “When they finish the program and they go right out, get a job, do well, I mean, it’s a terrific source of pride for myself. You know to see them do well and know that you’ve made a difference in that person’s life,” said Steinberg.
(Above: Students Modebb Alford, Ty Poston, Sam Sheffer, Leo Swallow and Chelsea Hoff pose in front of the completed wheelchair ramp they built over four days.)
According to Felts, students get to make a difference for others as well. “I’ll remember this for the rest of my life, and they’ll never know how much I appreciate it.”
NeighborWorks says Felts’ home is the first in Box Elder to be part of the “Revive Five” program, but they hope it’s just the beginning to a bright future of home improvements.