Our incredible Ramp Team recently completed their 49th project at a Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans (MACV) home that provides transitional housing for veterans. MACV provides comprehensive program and supportive services to homeless veterans, including housing, employment and legal services.
Improving the accessibility of MACV homes is critical to ensuring that they can serve all veterans in our community. The ramp our volunteers constructed will ensure the home is accessible for veterans living with a disability.
We talked with one of the Ramp Team Leaders, Armand Peterson, about the Ramp Team and how it started. He said, “The retiree ramp project grew out of initiatives started at the Honeywell Retirees Volunteer Program (HRVP). HRVP dated back to 1979, but its mission was to help retirees find volunteer activities in their communities. The organization did not conduct or sponsor volunteer activities on its own. It was strictly a broker. However, that began to change when Honeywell headquarters was moved to New Jersey after being acquired by Allied Signal. Honeywell reconfigured its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program in the early 2000s and streamlined its charitable donations to align more clearly with the company’s business objectives. These were named “Honeywell Hometown Solutions,” and four or five key objectives were defined. “Housing and Shelter” was defined as one of the key objectives, and Honeywell supported it by becoming a national corporate partner of Rebuilding Together. HRVP was urged by local Honeywell personnel to support these initiatives by sponsoring activities relating to the five key objectives. Paul Parrish solicited retiree volunteers for the RTTC Safe at Home programs, and the ramp projects grew out of these original efforts.”
He went on to say, “We often get asked, ‘How many ramps have you guys built?’ One of our problems in answering that question is that, for most of our early days, we just built ramps, with no thought about keeping track of the numbers. Fortunately, Bill Berschneider keeps track of his volunteer efforts, and he came up with a good historical count, and we are now listing the ramp number on communications relative to each new project.”
We are extremely grateful to the Ramp Team for all of their hard work over the years, and we are looking forward to celebrating the 50th ramp project!