Friends, I know this post is really long But its an uplifting story worth reading of 2 friends who helped me.
Hello Friends: There are still good, amazingly kind people in this world and I happen to be friends with two such people here in Northern California. Most of you know that I have been struggling with my new House & joke that its ”The House From Hell” in order to make it easier to deal with all thats wrong with it day to day. My house made my clinical depression & anxiety un-dealable so much so that I went to the hospital & got help. A few months ago one of my FB friends read one of my posts about me being overwhelmed by my new house, She took the time to write me offering her & her husbands help, she said that I could make a “Hunny Do List” & they would come knock out as many things as they can. They live about one hour south of Sacramento & was still willing to help me. I was not ready to except help right then & was filled with anxiety about what I was going through at the time and asking myself why someone who only knew me on fb would want to help me. I pondered back and forth and finally excepted the help that I was crying out for. I felt really weird excepting help as I have always been the one helping others. I have always helped others because I care so much about others & pitching in to help support our community, never expecting anything in return. However much I helped others, I have felt alone, not supported & was discriminated against at times for many years now. So again excepting help from others was really hard for me because it made me feel like someone cared about me even though I felt like I was so very alone.
After getting help for my clinical depression & anxiety, I contacted my fb friend again & she & her husband came by to see my house & see what they could do to help me. While visiting me that day they were able to put kitchen door latches on and I was so happy thanking them for their help. I still felt weird excepting help from others but was so appreciative. Whats funny is that when we finally met I felt like I have met them before and then she said they used to go to the Abilities Expo so maybe we crossed paths.
Then I contacted my friend again a while later to ask if she & her husband could help me with building me a wheelchair ramp because some days I am having a really hard time walking with my cane & had no access into my house to use my wheelchair. She asked me to draw a design that I would like and her husband & she would see if it was possible to build. I created really rough plans on Photoshop for a 10×12 foot deck with a 11 ft wheelchair ramp coming off it in a floating design which means it is not attached to the ground or the house, I did not want the wheelchair ramp to look like the traditional ramps. Her husband gave me a list of wood and items that I needed to buy at Home Depot for them to build it. She said that they could come out to build it that Sunday if I was available, I was and even if I had something else scheduled I would have canceled it so that I had wheelchair access to my house.
They came out that Sunday and right away we saw that my designs were not going to work because the roof line of my house has a really low structural support beam, once the deck would be added there would only be about 6ft of walking clearance so that wouldn’t work. And on top of that my front door to the left was the only door to enter so we had to make it wide enough to get in that door. So then we all put our heads together to create a design that would work and look great. We together came up with a V shape design that would work perfectly and look amazing. In life we have to be flexible on many things and when something isn’t going to work the way you first wanted it to, then you need to figure out how you can make it work and this is what we did together. So with that her husband could start building & they both let me know that we should put a safety rail so that no one goes off the side of the ramp because I did not want hand rails. Building this wheelchair ramp took them two days of hard work in the heat, thankfully I had a 10×10 popup tent so we set that up to give them some shade.
On Monday they were done and we were all very happy at the way it came together. It looks Amazing. A Few days later I bought a clear deck sealer and applied it to all the redwood decking & rail. I didn’t think the ramp could look anymore amazing but now it looks over the top amazing. When they were done & leaving to go home they told me that all they wanted was for me to pass along the helping hand to someone else in need. I was almost in tears right there. I waited till they left while staring at the deck for what seamed like a half hour and I broke down in tears. I still just couldn’t believe someone wanted to help me with such a big gift & two days of hard labor & sharing their talents. I am so appreciative for their help that words can’t thank them enough.
So now for the Thank You Again to these very, very special friends, Thank You Candy Harrington & Charles Pannell. You are amazing, loving & people to look up to. You changed my life in more ways then just building me a wheelchair ramp & giving me wheelchair access to my house.
Share your talents & time with someone in need and you will see they are very appreciative & thankful. You might just change their lives like Candy Harrington & Charles Pannell did for me with this amazing gift.
God Bless. Truly your friend Jerry O’Brien