Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW)Post 6073 and American Legion (AL) Post 30 recently completed two wheelchair ramps. This group of veterans represent volunteers that served in the United States Army, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard and Navy.
A ramp was completed by a group of 11 veteran volunteers for disabled veteran, Roger Chaney of Scottsboro. Roger served in the U.S. Army and National Guard from 1972 – 1978. He is now volunteering to help build ramps for other veterans and their families.
Another wheelchair ramp was built by 11 veteran volunteers for the widow of veteran James Stawicki. Sergeant Stawicki served over 12 years in the U.S. Army, including over two years of foreign service. He served in the Saudi Arabia/Kuwait Liberation war, receiving numerous awards, including the SW-ASIA Service Medal w/Bronze Star (3), Army commendation Medal (2nd Oak Leaf Cluster, and NCO Professional Development Ribbon (2). Sgt Stawicki was transitioning from active duty to the National Guard when he was killed in a four-wheeler accident. His widow, Sheila, was a dispatcher with the Sheriff Department and a 12-year city employee and was in need of a wheelchair ramp. Sheila provided breakfast, coffee, sandwiches, drinks and homemade brownies for the veterans, and her big smile and laughter helped them know they brought a little happiness into her life. She is in the process of joining the Auxiliary ladies that work with the VFW and AL.
Veterans Helping Veterans is a local group of military veterans who volunteer their time and resources to help veterans and their families in need. The projects are funded by the local VFW and AL Posts and provided at no charge to the individuals. We have helped veterans that had to crawl up their stairs, without ramps or handrails to assist them. We have built decks for bed-bound veterans who just want to be taken outside to see the sun, and we haveinstalled new electrical systems for breathing machines that kept tripping breakers and air conditioning in a non-AC bedroom so the veteran could sleep. We even built a ramp for a wheelchair-bound veteran and his wife who could not negotiate their stairs, to hear he passed away only three days later. We were heartbroken to lose another brother-in-arms but grateful we were able to spend time with him.
We relate these experiences so our community knows it is our honor to continue to serve our country and our community. Contrary to a belief that veterans, especially combat vets, are broken and need help, local men and women that volunteered to serve our country and to fight our wars are ready and able to serve in our community. We have a sense of camaraderie that few people outside the military can relate to, while we work to honor the service of those that fought for our country. We want the men and women presently serving on active duty to know when their service is completed, there is a group in their local community that knows their challenges and stands ready to help. No veteran that has honorably served their Country should be forgotten or tossed aside.
If you are a veteran and would like to become a member of this group of volunteers, contact the VFW Post at 256.259.6161. Also, donations are gladly accepted from anyone to fund future projects.