Work crews converged on the home of Black Diamond resident Terry Hildebrand during this year’s Rampathon event. Below, volunteers assemble the ramp before gathering for a group photo with Hildebrand. Contributed photos

Work crews converged on the home of Black Diamond resident Terry Hildebrand during this year’s Rampathon event. Below, volunteers assemble the ramp before gathering for a group photo with Hildebrand. Contributed photos

Black Diamond resident gets new wheelchair ramp

Terry Hildebrand, 77, injured his back in a gymnastics incident when he was 18.

Many people don’t think twice about how easy it can be to lave your home. But for others, bound by physical ailments or disabilities, it can be quite the ordeal.

That’s where Rampathon comes in, hosted annually by the Master Builders Association and attended by countless other volunteer organizations.

This last weekend during the event, Bonney Lake nonprofit Building Beyond the Walls helped build a ramp for for Black Diamond resident Terry Hildebrand, 77.

Hildebrand has been struggling with mobility issues since he suffered a gymnastics injury when he was young.

“Building Beyond the Walls is about building a safe community through training and volunteering,” Sue Z. Hart, CEO and founder of Building Beyond the Walls, said in a press release. “Rampathon is the perfect event that offers the learning environment to teach construction skills, help someone in need and build community. This year’s event is particularly rewarding because we’re working alongside the family members.”

At 18, Hildebrand suffered a back injury accident after dismounting from the high bar. He was trying out for the Pre-Olympic Games and was attending the University of Washington on a gymnastics scholarship. The injury ended his gymnastics career and his ability to walk without braces. For the past several years, he’s had to use a wheelchair.

Until the new ramp was built, Hildebrand was using a make-shift ramp made of plywood at his Black Diamond home. His sister-in-law Sherry Barnes heard about Rampathon and applied. This is the second time the Hildebrand family applied for a ramp, but this time, they were accepted.

“It makes it more special because I know it’s not any easy thing to get,” Hildebrand said. “For people to volunteer and build it for free is impressive. I couldn’t believe how professional it looks. I really appreciate it.”

This is the third year that Building Beyond the Walls has built a free ramp during Rampathon. Rampathon is an annual event where community volunteers head to homes throughout King and Snohomish Counties to build wheelchair access ramps for free.

For more information about Rampathon, go to www.rampathon.org.

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