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      Pioneer Kiwanis ramp it up

      The Kiwanis Club in Ishpeming has been building ramps at homes around western Marquette County for 26 years. Early this summer, the club celebrated the completion of its 300th ramp in the area.

      The men are all retired, but you'd never know it watching them construct this ramp.

      "I think we'd be a good construction company, but we're volunteers," said Pioneer Kiwanis Club President, Terry Thompson. The Greater Ishpeming Pioneer Kiwanis Club recently built a ramp for 95-year-old Jane King.

      "I can be more independent; I am independent anyway," said Jane. Members of the club say it's gratifying to help those who are handicapped.

      "I enjoy seeing the look on somebody's face when they can get out of their house and get on the ground again without problems," said club member, John Adams. Each member of the team provides something different, from designing the ramp to cutting the wood for it. The club pays for the first $100 of materials and provides the labor as well.

      It only took members of the Kiwanis Club one morning to build this ramp for Jane, but she says she'll be using it to get in and out of her house more easily for many mornings to come.

      "Oh, this is going to be wonderful. I won't have to wait for someone to come and help me to get down the ramp or anything," Jane exclaims. They're not looking for thanks though, they just say it's a part of their mission.

      "That's what the Kiwanis is all about--filling needs in a community--and that's the need that we've taken on," Thompson explains. Anybody in need in western Marquette County can apply to get a ramp of their own.