Chermak Construction helps single mom gain mobility in annual rampathon event

Chermak employees work on construction of two ramps for Christine Tyo's home. (Photos courtesy Chermak Construction).
Chermak employees work on construction of two ramps for Christine Tyo’s home. (Photos courtesy Chermak Construction).

Chermak 2013-2Chermak 2013 -4Employees of Edmonds-based Chermak Construction again volunteered their time to help a neighbor in need through the annual Rampathon project, aimed at providing accessibility to hundreds of people who would otherwise be housebound.

Chermak employees donated their time for the duration of the project last weekend, which this year benefited 47-year-old Christine Tyo, who has been living 28 years with multiple sclerosis, which has robbed her of leg strength. A single mother of two children, Tyo does volunteer work as an outreach spokesperson for the MS Helping Hands Donor Closet.

Held this year on May 18, the 20th Rampathon is sponsored by the Master Builders of King and Snohomish Counties. Each year, handicap-access ramps are built by home remodeling companies throughout the region.

“Annually, this project comes together with the contributions of important partners,” said Marketing Manager Kathy Hashbarger. “Chermak Construction is extremely grateful to this year’s sponsors: Home Street Bank, Capital Benefit Services, EPK Benefits, Regence, APP Fueling Services and AAA Kartak.” Dunn Lumber, a family-owned and operated lumber yard, contributed pressure- treated lumber, cedar handrails, and a product called Tuff tread for the decking on the ramp, she added.

The 2013 Chermak Construction Rampathon team was headed up by Jon Elkins and fellow builders Jerry Cornett, Kathy Hashbarger, Joe Hopkins, Gary Lundberg and Nanr Maines.

“This year our Rampathon recipient reminded us to count our blessings and savor the opportunity to give back,” Hashbarger said. “She is a determined woman who lives with many obstacles.”

Tyo does volunteer work for the MS Helping Hands Donor Closet. She is their outreach spokesperson.In her home, Tyo gets around by grabbing for support from one object to another, and she can’t stand fully upright. Before her new ramp was installed, getting outside to shop, visit the doctor or socialize was dangerous, Hashbarger noted. “She danced with disaster every time she went out.”

Tyo’s front entrance had two cement steps and her only real option for leaving her home was exiting out the back door onto rotted decking that was with a rickety railing and two rotten steps.

When reviewing how to stage the project, the Chermak crew decided the situation was so dire that two ramps were needed: A small basic ramp with Tuff tread out front.

“Out the back we designed a ramp that would integrate with her newer covered porch overhang; it’s constructed using Timber Tech boards at the landing and Trex decking on the straightaway,” Hasbhbarger said. “Cedar handrails and pressure-treated lumber make this ramp a thing of beauty, built to last. Both ramps are built for the use of a motorized scooter or wheelchair.”

The Chermak team worked late Saturday evening to finish both ramps, and their reward was watching Tyo take that first spin down the ramp to the outside world. “Christine used her motorized scooter to take her first trip down the front ramp the moment it was finished,” Harshbarger said. “She went right to her lilac bush and said she hadn’t been out to enjoy it before now.”

“As in years past, we left feeling that we were the ones that were gifted with something,” Hashbarger said.

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