South Bend man receives ramp, gets freedom back

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) – “I finally get to go outside,” Rickey Woolridge said. “I mean, really a lot of it is just going outside.”

Going outside is something many of us take for granted. But for Wooldridge, getting out the house has been very difficult lately.

Wooldridge has had multiple sclerosis for 24 years, but his most recent attack left him in a wheelchair.

“When I was 29,” he said. “I was like this too, in a wheelchair and I was like, ‘I’m not going to sit in this wheelchair.’ Now, I’m 53 it’s a bit harder to get out.”

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The Hilldrup Move-Up Fund Supports SAWs to Bring Mobility Ramps to Community

Hilldrup is thrilled to announce that our company’s foundation, the Hilldrup Move-Up Fund, will be assisting Servants At Work (SAWs), a non-profit organization dedicated to providing wheelchair ramps to low-income, permanently disabled individuals. SAWs’ ADA-compliant wheelchair ramps, which are constructed and installed outside of the individual’s home, offer a true sense of independence and dignity to those they serve.

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Group changes Hoosier lives by building ramps for the disabled

Fox59 News Story about Servants at Work

INDIANAPOLIS – The mission of the group Servants at Work (SAWs) is to better the lives of Hoosiers by building ramps.

SAWs is an Indianapolis-based nonprofit dedicated to helping those who are ambulatory disabled exit their home safely.

The ramps are free to the recipient and are built by local volunteers. Materials are funded through donations.

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Mathew’s Story

Mathew is a middle school aged boy who has a permanent disability that confines him to his wheelchair. Mathew’s mother had been carrying him in and out of the home but could no longer physically do so. Recently, a team of 10 volunteers graciously gave their time and talents to build Mathew’s ramp. As the ramp was finished and Mathew came out to try it for the first-time tears of joy were shed by not just the family but by the crew of volunteers as well. In fact, one volunteer commented that even the dog cried! Mathew smiled from ear to ear. his was freedom! Freedom to go to school, freedom to play outside with his friends, freedom to be a young boy. Matthew’s ramp was made possible by our generous volunteers and donors.

Congrats to John Hunter

Congrats to John Hunter for receiving the Golden Gift of Time award from the United Way of Greater Lafayette. John has been an integral volunteer in the Lafayette area and surrounding counties. SAWs is so grateful for his time and talents, but also the leadership he provides to volunteers.

March 2021 E-News

SAWs Announces the 3000th Ramp
As we ramp up our 2021 build season, SAWs is very excited to announce that on August 14th SAWs will be constructing their 3,000th ramp. What an exciting milestone for SAWs! (The first ramp was built in 2003.) There will be a “Blue-Ribbon” ceremony that will include an impactful client storyline, media coverage, buffet lunch, and more.

This Addition of E-News includes:

  • SAWs Announces the 3000th Ramp
  • Changing Lives One Ramp at a Time: Talica’s Story
  • Partner Spotlight: Second Presbyterian Church
  • New Staff Member: Tim Thurston
  • Upcoming Volunteer Opportunities
  • Project Manager Training
  • Crabbie Golf Outing

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News from our VA Affiliate

Servants At Work ( SAWs Virginia) has been added to the Marine Corps Base Quantico Volunteer Program’s list of service opportunities. The program provides volunteer opportunities to active duty personnel, their family members, retirees, veterans and civilians to connect the installation and community volunteer resources. SAWs Virginia constructs wheelchair ramps for low-income, ambulatory disabled residents to allow them to age-in-place. “It definitely was a lot of fun and rewarding knowing we were able to make a difference for someone in need,” said Christine Ramirez, the Administrative Specialist for the program. Volunteer opportunities with SAWs Virginia will continue through the fall and winter.

Come join the Marines and help make a major difference in the life of someone hidden in the shadows. Go to to volunteer today.

New Staff Member – Tim Thurston

In January 2021, Tim Thurston joined the SAWs family as Regional Hub Manager. He brings years of experience in operational and project management, customer stewardship, financial and marketing management. Tim will be responsible for all hub activity throughout Indiana. He is already wearing many hats and has been actively promoting SAWs’ Corporate Team Building program, finding additional referring agencies, and recruiting new service clubs (Rotary, Kiwanis, Lions) to volunteer.

Tim grew up in the Indianapolis area and has a deep passion to serve people in the community. Tim and his wife, Becky, have three grown children and are also active in the Franklin, Indiana community. Tim is an IHSAA football referee, and a board member of both the Franklin Rotary Club and Leadership Johnson County. Tim graduated from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science / International Studies and Core in Statistics.

Talica’s Story

We’ve all heard the expression “your life can change in an instant.” This past Fall, SAWs received a call to build a ramp for a young teenage girl. We were asked late in the season as the weather was beginning to turn cold and there were not many ramp-building Saturdays left; the schedule was full. It was suggested to Talica’s mother that March or April would be a better date. Then we learned the rest of the story.

Talica, a basketball player for Indianapolis Crispus Attucks High School, had just graduated in the Spring of 2020. Several weeks earlier, Talica and a friend were sitting in an apartment parking lot waiting on a friend to join them. Shots rang out and a stray bullet hit their car and struck Talicia. She would end up being paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair for the rest of her life.

As we spoke with her mom, Talica was in rehab awaiting a safe way to get home in her wheelchair. Her story brought tears to our eyes and a passion to complete the project before the end of the season. SAWs volunteers went into action and immediately planned the build for the upcoming Saturday. For a Saturday in December, the Lord blessed the team with 60 degrees and sunshine all day. The usual SAWs ramp team of 6-8 volunteers swelled at one point to over 20 volunteers with willing hands and a giving heart.

As the build was being finished, Talica’s sister and mother, Shelicia, prepared a buffet of fried chicken, coleslaw, and drinks for the SAWs crew. As the final screws were being drilled in place, Shelicia called Talica and they FaceTimed with the Project Managers. She witnessed the completed ramp from her hospital bed. Talica could finally come home!

This is the essence of the SAWs mission.

Gloria’s Story

“When firemen know you by first name, it’s not so good.” Gloria said as she explained that the only times she had left her home in the past four years was when she called the fire department to take her to the hospital.

Gloria no longer has to call the fire department to leave her home. In fact, she roll down her new SAWs ramp to visit her neighbors, go to church or anywhere else she pleases. “God bless you,” she said through tears as she came out her door and onto her new ramp. “God bless my angels and may God bless you and be with you forever for this. This is freedom for me!”

Gloria’s words capture our mission. Celebrate Gloria’s freedom with us as well as St. Joseph County SAWs 100 ramp! Such a beautiful and heart warming video.