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Before and After: Union United Upgrades Ramp for Community Member

The community we serve bolsters our strength with stories of goodwill, achievement, and love every day. At EZ-ACCESS®, our proudest moments are the moments we hear about from those across the country who choose our products to help their neighbors. One such event happened last October when Union United members came together in support of one of their own. Mrs. Debra Carter-Smith had an old wooden ramp at the front of her home that was deteriorating—uneven planks, sharp edges, and structural damage were growing hazards. The access ramp needed replacing so that she could safely enter and exit her home. The project would require removing the old ramp, repairing the bricks of the stoop, and installing the new ramp. There was no hesitation from Union United, which is a group connecting those in the Union County, KY area, with the single purpose of bridging the church and the community. EZ-ACCESS employees, including Jeff Salyers, Jesse Hazel, Jonathan Wyatt, Justin Alvis, Kevin Gross, and Micah Utley, jumped in to ensure Mrs. Carter-Smith was taken care of. 

Start to Finish: Ramp Replacement in Action

To kick off the process of replacing her handicap access ramp, the first step was to determine what the best solution would be for Mrs. Carter-Smith’s existing wood structure. The Union United team knew they needed a product that would be long-lasting, easy to install, and could be customized to fit the size requirements of the front porch and yard. They researched their options and came across the solutions from a company with offices right in their backyard: EZ-ACCESS. Working with our Customer Service team, the Union United group landed on a PATHWAY® HD Code Compliant Modular Access System. This system provides optional configuration of ramps, stairs, and platforms to suit the needs of the space. The prefabricated pieces allowed a customizable layout that would work with the available space. Since the ramp is designed to be ADA compliant, it was already built to standards that promote easy accessibility for the user. With the help of the Customer Service team, the group of volunteers was able to have the ramp ordered and delivered in no time. 

When the PATHWAY HD system arrived and it was time to start the installation, the first step was to begin removing the old wooden ramp. While it had served Mrs. Carter-Smith well over the years, it was showing clear signs of decay and instability that wood ramps are prone to. The team carefully disassembled the old ramp, first removing the handrails and then detaching the segments of the ramp to haul off. As the ramp was removed, the underside was visible, and everyone confirmed it was definitely time for her to have a new one! As with most wooden ramps, the effects of weather and the elements led to deterioration that reduced stability and safety. Even with regular sealing and repairs, wood ramps have a limited lifespan. Entry ramps for homes need to be low maintenance, which is why aluminum is our chosen material.

Once the wood had been properly discarded, the Union United team turned their attention to the brick steps of the porch. Over the years, wear and tear had crumbled the mortar, leaving loose bricks that would not stay in place. In order for the top of the new ramp to have a secure place to be attached, the volunteers rolled up their sleeves and became brick masons. They looked over the wobbly bricks to see which ones needed to be replaced or fixed, then carefully positioned them in the proper spots and applied mortar. Once the mortar cured, there was a sturdy spot where the top of the ramp would sit.

At that point, it was a matter of putting together the ramp and placing it. With EZ-ACCESS being local, we were able to put the initial pieces of the ramp in place to make installation even easier. After it was unloaded from the truck, the legs and feet of the ramp were attached, and the entire unit was set in place. While a wooden ramp would have taken days of painstaking measuring, cutting, and hammering, the PATHWAY HD took a fraction of that time and far less effort. Our ramps don’t require concrete footers either, making installation easier. 

Once the ramp was in the right spot, the Union United and EZ-ACCESS teams made the necessary adjustments to line everything up perfectly and secure all the pieces. The adjustable height of the modular system allowed them to quickly level the platform and ensure everything was at the right height. After final testing to ensure the installation was buttoned up, Mrs. Carter-Smith was finally able to take this worry off of her shoulders. With teamwork and a mission to help those around them, the Union United and EZ-ACCESS teams were able to deliver a brand-new ramp that would make life easier while keeping her safe. 

Why an Aluminum Ramp Will Benefit Mrs. Carter-Smith for Years to Come

The aluminum construction of the PATHWAY HD Modular Access System has a long lifespan; its ability to withstand years in the rain or snow makes it ideal for outdoor access points. The durability also makes it low maintenance. Beyond an occasional rinse to wash away mud or debris, aluminum ramps don’t need staining, sealing, or patchwork repairs like wood. Aluminum is resistant to corrosion, making it a stressless solution that truly makes life easier for Mrs. Carter-Smith and many others.

The aluminum ramp is designed to be slip-resistant due to grooves built into the surface. Having this feature as part of the design and manufacturing eliminates the need to add additional non-slip materials to the ramp. It’s a benefit for both Mrs. Carter-Smith and anyone who visits, as a slippery surface is a problem no matter your mobility. Detailed features like the design of the ramp surface are examples of how our Research and Development team focuses on how to make our access products as beneficial to users as possible. 

The ramp also included handrails, giving built-in support. They’re ideal for anyone who needs an extra hand to keep them steady, and the vertical pickets between the rail and the walking surface keep the space below the handrails blocked off to prevent mishaps. Plus, aluminum handrails mean you don’t have to worry about splinters anymore!

The EZ-ACCESS Mission: Accessibility for All

Each day, we hear instances of how communities come together to help one another. Getting to be a part of those stories reminds us of our mission: enriching lives by providing access to life beyond barriers. It’s why we continue to make all of our products right here in America—so that we can support our neighbors with high-quality products and create careers. We’ve lived by that motto for 40 years and are proud to be a part of so many stories. 

No one should be limited by their mobility, and we strive to create solutions that bring equal opportunities to all environments: homes, businesses, public buildings, workplaces, and so much more. Our ability to customize and creatively approach the needs of our customers is what ensures people get access that works for them instead of settling. We love thinking outside the box to deliver a better life for all. It doesn’t matter if you’re replacing an existing accessibility ramp or adding a new one—EZ-ACCESS will never steer you wrong. 

While accessibility is becoming more common and awareness is improving, there’s still a long way to go. We aim for the day when no mobility barriers exist, and EZ-ACCESS will continue to play a part whenever someone needs our help. Whether you need access solutions for yourself, want to help a neighbor, or are looking to make your business welcoming to everyone, we will be there to make it happen. Our Customer Service team is ready to help you select the right product to make access a reality. Make a difference and break through barriers with us!

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