Ability Center Helps Maumee Woman By Constructing A Ramp Over Stairs

Chris Hammer and her friends can now easily access her Maumee home after The Ability Center used grant funds to install a ramp. The Ability Center works to change attitudes and real-world conditions for people with disabilities. PHOTO COURTESY OF B. PIRI PHOTOGRAPHY

Christine “Chris” Hammer was thrilled to find an all-brick house with real wood floors – especially in the midst of a housing shortage.

After moving into her Maumee home, the 77-year-old noticed that the steep cement stops to the front door were a challenge for both her and her friends, who enjoy coming to visit.

“I was worried I’d fall and break my neck,” said Hammer, who uses a walker due to arthritis and mobility issues from previously broken legs.

As she considered a ramp and the possible cost, Hammer remembered The Ability Center. Throughout college, Hammer’s late daughter Sarah volunteered with The Ability Center, assisting people with disabilities to create their own unique works of art. 

“Folks wanted to learn how to paint. She’d guide and teach them to make beautiful art and paintings,” she said.

Hammer was approved for a ramp, which was built by a carpenter and paid for through grant money, said Mallory Crooks, public relations manager for The Ability Center.

“Chris served others as a nurse for over 25 years at St. Luke’s Hospital,” Crooks pointed out. “We’re glad that we can help her out.”

For Hammer, the day the team showed up to install the ramp was “magical.” She was so impressed with their work that she sent them cookies as a show of gratitude.

“It’s so sturdy and well-built. It was such a professional operation that it just took my breath away,” Hammer said. “It’s allowed me to get in and out of this home more safely and the great privilege of having my friends come over for supper or lunch or to visit.” 

One in four people has a disability that impacts the way they connect with others. The Ability Center works to change attitudes and real-world conditions for people with disabilities, Crooks said. That work crosses sectors to provide clients with education, employment, health care, housing, transportation, technology and social opportunities.

These programs and services include:

• Interactive classes for those ages 13 to 26 who want to develop skills for independent living, competitive employment or community-based living.

• Life skills classes for high school junior and seniors through a six-week, immersive summer program to learn about cooking, laundry and time management 

• Home modifications that encourage independent living, including grab bars, handrails, low-rise steps, ramps and stair lifts.

• Disability equipment for loan, including commodes, raised toilet seats, shower chairs, transfer benches and wheelchairs.

• Assistive technology.

• Therapy dogs to provide support and companionship in the home and school therapy dogs for area schools.

In addition, The Ability Center partners with public and private entities to comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) and other disability rights legislation.

Self-advocacy materials and resources on ADA compliance are available for download on the website.

The Ability Center’s advocacy staff works at local, state and federal levels to promote positive change for people with disabilities.

Want to help? Join the auxiliary, volunteer for an event, foster an assistance dog or build a ramp. Become a partner in creating the most disability-friendly community in the country.

For information, visit www.abilitycenter.org.

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