The Reidland United Methodist Men Ramp Ministry in Paducah, Kentucky just celebrated a milestone achievement of building its 1,000th handicap-accessible ramp since its inception in 1995. According to The Christian Post, the ministry began when the church’s ‘Helping Hands’ ministry adopted a project to build a ramp for a person in need. After the ramp was completed, other community members in need asked to have ramps constructed for them. Five ramps were built in the first year, ten the following year, and by its eighth year, the ramp ministry was building an average of 50 ramps annually.
Joe Burkhead, the head of the ramp-building ministry, shared that they are three to four months behind on orders since they have been “swamped with requests” since last year. Burkhead has been a volunteer with the ministry since its first project. He told The Christian Post that there has been a lot of turnover with volunteers over the years, and he is the last original member. Burkhead praised the volunteers who are currently working with the ministry, and shared that the group of builders he has now is “the best” he has ever had.
Maintaining the ministry was not always easy for Burkhead who shared his struggle keeping it going when he had a low amount of volunteers. He said, “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.” The core group of volunteers is made up of one Roman Catholic, two Baptists, an Independent, and at least three other volunteers who are not members of their church.
For those who have a ramp built for them, Burkhead shared that he hopes they realize that they are benefitting from God’s love and grace. He humbly explained that the ministry is serving as the hands and feet of the Lord. Reaching this milestone of having built 1,000 ramps is motivating and encouraging to those who may be struggling to move forward with a project of their own. Although Burkhead faced times of doubt, his strength and faith in the Lord told him to keep going, and it is a blessing for so many people that he did.