The People's Tribune

Area Veterans Help Veteran by Building Ramp

One area veteran received some much needed help right before the holidays. 

US Army and Korean War veteran, Nelson Hainline’s eyesight has steadily been failing along with other ailments from his during the what many call ‘the forgotten war.’ 

The loss of his vision made navigating the steps of their rural home treacherous for both Nelson and his wife, Chris.

They now have one less worry after the Champ Clark Memorial VFW post No. 5553 built the couple a 40-foot ramp. 

Former VFW State Commander, Troy Williams who now acts as Missouri VFW Department Veteran Services Officer put in a request for the Bowling Green members to help Hainline out. 

Although Hainline is not a member of the Bowling Green post or the VFW, Member Tom Smith said that didn’t matter. 

“Veterans try to help other veterans,” Smith said. Although Smith coordinated the project, he doesn’t want any of the credit. “All the local businesses who donated and the volunteers should get all the accolades.” 

Every aspect of the project from surveying and drafting a plan to hammering in nails was donated whether it was materials, money, time, and sweat.

After plans were drawn up for the one-stage ramp, another member of the VFW post took them to the local Bowling Green lumber yards to request materials. 

“The cost was well over $1000 after materials and equipment rental,” Smith added. “Fortunately, we didn’t have to build any switchbacks which would have needed an additional landing.”

Smith was joined by eight other VFW members – eight from the Champ Clark Memorial post and one from another. Together they put in 114 hours on site working on the project, but that time didn’t include planning or gathering materials. One participating member drove from 46 miles away to help build the ramp.

According to a guess from Smith, the average age of the work crew was around 60-years-old.

Like many other veterans organizations, the local VFW posts need more younger vets returning from the recent wars to join their ranks so they can tackle more projects like ramp and help other veterans in need. 

Smith said he understood since he had been there. “They’re trying to raise a family.” But he also noted that he didn’t realize the benefits the organization offered members until he had joined – most notably the help they offer with health benefits.

The members will return in the spring to finish staining and coating the deck.

“All of the businesses and volunteers where eager to help out with the project,” Smith said. He wanted to thank each of them assisted. 

“They were a nice couple.” According to Smith, Mr. Hainline was very appreciative. “He personally thanked each member.”


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