November 20, 2010
Five years ago, Mike Dowd '11 and two of his high school friends worked with the Richmond non-profit ElderHome to build wooden ramps for people who could not leave their own homes because they cannot go up and down steps. This experience prompted the three young men to found their own charitable organization, Ramp Access Made Possible by Students (RAMPS), which installs modular steel ramps for senior citizens and people with disabilities.
RAMPS raises all of the money necessary to buy the ramps, so fundraising is crucial. The modular nature of the ramps also allows the group to reuse them in a new location when recipients no longer need them.
On November 20, RAMPS installed a wheelchair ramp for Mrs. Rosemary Pollard of Farmville. The installation crew included, left to right behind Mr. and Mrs. Pollard, Mike Dowd '11, David Klein '78 (H-S Dean of Students), Cohen Howard, a junior at VES, and Kevin Sidney '12.
In April, Mike was awarded the 2010 Governor's Award for Volunteerism and Community Service from Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell. During the past five years, RAMPS has installed nearly 100 modular ramps at homes around Richmond and in Prince Edward County.