By Justin Schmidt, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
EUDORA, KS (KCTV) -
Eugene "Westie" Westerhouse brings vitally needed independence to the handicapped and infirmed by building ramps for them.
"I had a preacher call me and said she had a man that needed help. So I went to help," Westerhouse explained. "It just kind of grew from there."
That was 1986. And 28 years later, he has built about 300 wheelchair ramps.
"I've been building from one to three months ever since then," he said.
He works with Kingdom Builders, a church based out of Eudora, which provides the wood. Recipients are asked to pay what they can for the costs.
He built ramps for one man to get to his truck and another to get his tractor.
"The gentleman wanted a ramp so he could get to his truck, so he could get to the doctor," he said. "I built the ramp over the wall, so he could get to his tractor. I don't know that he ever did go to the doctor, but I know he got on the tractor."
Debra Jennings is grateful for Westerhouse's help. Her husband, Gary, had a stroke last summer, and he was essentially confined to his residence.
"It means that we can get out of the house. Gary's been able to maintain some sort of normalcy," Debra Jennings said. "I don't know what we would have done without it."
She called Westerhouse a hero, saying he built their "freedom ramp."
"He's the sweetest man I've ever met. You just love him instantly," she said. "I don't know how his body can contain this huge heart he has. You cannot say enough good about Westie."
The retired postal worker shrugs off the attention.
"I have fun doing it. I'm helping people, that's it," he explained.
Copyright 2014 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
Tuesday, July 22 2014 10:00 PM EDT2014-07-23 02:00:37 GMT
Tragedy has repeatedly touched the life of the mother of a 5-year-old girl shot to death in Leavenworth Friday night.More >
Tragedy has repeatedly touched the life of the mother of a 5-year-old girl shot to death in Leavenworth Friday night. And some wonder if more could have been done to protect the children of Christina Harris from violence.More >