Rotary constructs ramp for Beard

Workers on the ramp for James Beard included Ed Brown, Roy Gandy, Bob Padilla, Artry Bishop, John Westmoreland, David McGinnis, Johnny Minish, Alan Phillips and Jerry Coutant.

The Rotary Club of Madison County completed a handicap ramp for Madison County native James Beard Dec. 5, the club’s 763rd ramp Dec. 5.

Beard has a long history of heart problems, including nine heart attacks and 13 stints. He recently fell and crushed some discs in his back, making it very difficult to walk. He has been a self employed electronic repairman for several years. Beard has five foster adopted children to take care of as well as two of his own. He expressed gratitude for the assistance of the Rotary Club and volunteers.

The Rotary Club has been building ramps since 1995. The ramps are built on the basis of need, and donations are requested but not required. The Rotary Club raises money with raffles, tickets, golf tournaments. onion sales and donations and grants.

"We have many great companies in the county that have really helped," Rotary leaders said. "One of which is George Strickland, owner of the Madison County Hardware, Ace Hardware, which has donated over $60,000 since we started by a large discount on the materials we purchased from the store. Another is Jackson EMC, who also provided $35,000 in grants for materials since 2012. The first grant was from the Francis Wood Foundation whose donation was $10,000. We appreciate all the help we have received for so many people, and especially the labor we have received from volunteers in Madison County."

The Rotary Club contacted some contractors about the average cost of the materials and labor of the ramps and they have estimated each ramp would be around $1,500.

“Based upon that figure the Rotary Club of Madison County, with the help of donations and grants of money and labor from this community has contributed over $1 million to help handicapped people in this area since we started building ramps,” said Rotary leaders.

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