Mike Thompson joins SAWs as new Executive Director

Mike Thompson

The Servants at Work (SAWs) board of directors has announced that D. Michael Thompson is the next Executive Director replacing the retiring Robert Richmond.

“I’m convinced that SAWs is the best kept nonprofit secret in Indiana, and I am here to change that,” states Thompson. Daily, I meet and speak with clients who have lost their mobility freedom. Many feel as if they are prisoners in their own homes. SAWs helps them regain their independence and quality of life by proving a wheelchair ramp no cost them. Having over 2,700 volunteers, 20 project managers, and a staff of 6, we are on track to build 400+ ramps in and around Indiana in 2022.

Mike is a graduate of Ball State University with a master’s degree in Public Affairs in Nonprofit Management from the Indiana University O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs. He formerly worked with the Western Boone Education Foundation, the Kelley School of Business at IUPUI, and Habitat for Humanity of Boone County.

Mike joined the SAWs team in the Spring of 2022, taking over for the retired Bob Richmond. With over ten years of experience, he has worked and served with several Boone County nonprofits, including Boone County Habitat for Humanity, Western Boone Education Foundation, and Indiana University – Kelley School of Business. Mike also worked for thirteen years in product/design engineering for several automotive manufacturers and suppliers in Indiana and Ohio. Mike has been married to his wife Julie for twenty-five years, with two adult sons, they are members of St. Joseph Catholic Church, and he enjoys volunteering, tinkering, innovation, and being outside.



BraunAbility and SAWs partner together to build 50 Ramps in 50 Days

Three people standing on a wooden exterior ramp

Dave, a BraunAbility employee for over 32 years, knows the impact of SAWs.  

Homer and Virginia, Dave Hettinger’s parents, have been married for 54 years and live in the small town of Star City, in Pulaski County, Indiana. Dave describes his mother as high energy, so when Virginia’s health began to falter, the family was stressed.  Humble Hoosiers to the core, Dave’s parents were reluctant to accept help.  Virginia was facing hip surgery and the family wondered how they were going to manage. 

When Dave’s BraunAbility co-workers learned about Virginia’s struggles, they sprung into action and Human Resources Manager Kacey quickly gathered a team of BraunAbility employees, some who were life-long friends of Dave, together. Within a week, they built a SAWs ADA-compliant ramp as an addition to Virginia and Homer’s deck. 

Dave says his parents have enjoyed their ramp immensely and are able to sit outside and enjoy the night air on a warm night or travel out to have dinner with friends and family. It is a comfort to know accessibility to their home and community won’t be an issue in the future.  

A few years ago, the BraunAbility plant in Winamac made a commitment to Indiana and began building SAWs ramps for people living with long-term disabilities in low-income households.  In 2021 alone, BraunAbility employees volunteered nearly 600 hours building ramps for families in our communities.  Now, we are taking it even further. 

To celebrate BraunAbility’s 50th Anniversary, they have issued SAWs a challenge: to build 50 ramps in 50 days!  BraunAbility has pledged to match all donations to SAWs up to $50,000 to make this a reality.  Ramps will be built throughout Indiana and nation-wide, in communities where BraunAbility employees live and work.  

Visit https://www.sawsramps.org/50-in-50-campaign/ to donate or volunteer and make sure SAWs meets the challenge to double the impact and serve 50 people in need of greater accessibility, freedom and independence in their homes.  You, too, can help people just like Virginia and her family to remain in their homes. 
Volunteers standing inform of a wooden exterior ramp to a white house.

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.”

Watch Video/Read Full Story.

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.

Read full article

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.

Read Full Story

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

Read Newsletter

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 https://sawsramps.volunteerhub.com/lp/sawsvirginia/ to volunteer today.