LILESVILLE — A disabled Anson County resident now has easier access to his home thanks to a group of his friends and volunteers from Richmond County.
Chuck Tucker, of Lilesville, is missing both of his legs, according to his friend Billy Dunn. Dunn, a retired captain formerly with the Anson County Sheriff’s Office, and a group of friends meet for breakfast nearly every morning at Scotty’s Bait and Tackle near the county line.
“We’re all retired, so that’s where we go and shoot the bull,” Dunn said.
The group decided to provide Tucker with a ramp, and gathered to build him one on Feb. 8.
Dennis Holloway, one of the volunteers, is with First Baptist Church in Rockingham and is a team leader for the North Carolina Baptist Men, and was contacted about Tucker’s need.
“This situation is so unique with the fellow over here that doesn’t have any legs,” Holloway said. “He still works. He refuses to go on disability. When they told me that, we said, ‘We’ll go over and get a ramp.’”
Holloway said First Baptist Church started its ministry about seven years ago. Last year, they built 54 ramps.
“As it grew, we got more and more people from other churches — and some that don’t go to church — who found out we were building ramps for those who can’t afford them,” Holloway said. “We have about 30 different people we draw from now. They’re from different ethnic groups and different religions. We go all over.”
The group has made 10 to 15 trips to areas affected by Hurricane Matthew.
“As part of the N.C. Baptist Men, we go down there and do whatever’s needed: cleaning, mudding out, where you go into these homes that are flooded and take out the sheet rock and anything with contamination, insulation,” Holloway said. “You go under the house, crawl in mud to tear out insulation, and get everything that was contaminated. Sometimes that means the whole floor has to come out.”
Because of the men’s experience, Holloway said Tucker’s ramp was constructed quickly.
“It took two hours,” Holloway said. “It normally takes most of the day, but those guys only took two. They just know what they’re doing when they get out of the van. He had somebody that would pay for his, but most of the time, different churches and civic organizations and clubs fund these. I speak at a lot of different churches and social clubs and civic organizations, and they pledge to either build one or two ramps a year; they fund that many each year. That way, we get enough to have them covered.”
Holloway purchased the lumber, and the group of friends reimbursed him for it.
He said that Tucker, a sign painter with a shop in Rockingham, was thrilled with the gift.
“He was just beside himself,” Holloway said. “He had no idea somebody was going to build him a ramp.”
Holloway said Tucker had been going out the door and grabbing the side of his van to get in and go to work each morning. He said Tucker is due to have surgery again soon.
Holloway said his ministry is planning to build ramps in East Rockingham and Cordova soon.
Jim Diggs, Wayne Edwards, who attends Cordova Methodist Church, Dunn, who attends Second Baptist Church in Hamlet, Joe Walls, an Ellerbe resident who attends Crestview Baptist Church in Rockingham, Charles Gainey, Lacy Shepherd, who attends Pleasant Hill Baptist Church, and Holloway all worked on the ramp.
Dunn and Edwards are not part of the “regular crew” who work on ramps, Holloway said, but are friends with Tucker and organized the project.
As the crew cleaned up their tools after building the ramp, Holloway pulled out a Bible.
“We’re going to dedicate this and we’ll all sign it and pray before we leave here.”
Reach reporter Imari Scarbrough at 704-994-5471 and follow her on Twitter @ImariScarbrough.