A Kentucky church ministry recently completed the construction of its 1,000th ramp to help people in need.
The Reidland United Methodist Men Ramp Ministry – which launched in 1995 to help build handicap-accessible ramps for people in need in Western Kentucky – built its 1,000th ramp on Wednesday.
In an interview with The Christian Post, Joe Burkhead, the head of the ramp-building ministry, explained that the group originally began as an extension of Reidland UMC’s “Helping Hands” ministry work.
“Our UMM group did a lot of help projects for our older church members,” Burkhead told The Christian Post. “Our then-President Bill Thistlewood fielded a request from a community asking if we could build a handicap ramp for a person in need. Billy came to me and asked if I would take charge of that request, which I gladly did.”
In their first year, the ministry completed five ramps. In its second year, ministry members built 10 ramps. By its eighth year, the group was able to construct about 50 ramps per year.
“We completed 60 this past year — more than I’d prefer asking our guys to do, but we’ve been swamped with requests the past year-plus, and until recently have been running three to four months behind,” Burkhead said.
Burkhead, who has served as a volunteer since the ministry began, shared that he is the last original member of the group, but the ministry has had many volunteers over the years. He added that the current group of volunteers is “perhaps the best core group of builders we’ve ever had.”
“We had an extended period of low numbers about three or four years ago, and I was personally really struggling to keep the ministry going. God answered some prayers, and suddenly we were up to a very solid crew again,” he said.
“Our core group now includes a Roman Catholic, two Baptists, and an Independent, and we have at least three other part-timers who are not members of our church,” he added.
Burkhead told The Christian Post that nearly all of the ministry’s ramps had been built within 25 miles of the church property, including one 100-foot-long ramp in Mississippi.
“We always hope that recipients and their relatives take away the realization that God has hands and feet at work here on Earth and that they are the beneficiary of His love and grace, not our carpentry,” Burkhead said.
“I often tell my fellow building brothers that they deserve the privilege of heading up the ministry for a few months, just so they can experience the joy and satisfaction of recipients’ appreciation and initial reaction.”
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Toa 55, this is a stock image
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for Christian Headlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.