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Building a pathway to independence for a mobility-challenged veteran, one plank at a time

On a chilly Veterans Day morning, the tearful homeowner looked on as a team of Piedmont volunteers were changing her and her husband’s lives. Her husband, a military veteran with mobility challenges would be able to leave their home not by way of old, unstable steps, but instead a safe, wheelchair ramp constructed by caring volunteers.

In a true display of Piedmont’s commitment to our mission of caring for the communities where we operate, over a dozen Piedmont team members and family members teamed up with the Chesapeake Housing Mission on Veterans Day to construct a wheelchair ramp for a veteran in need.

Volunteers began working at 8:00 a.m. and worked tirelessly for six hours, digging, and filling holes, measuring, cutting, and assembling the ramp. As the buzzing sounds from the saw and drills filled the air, the homeowner watched in amazement throughout the day as the ramp was being built and happily conversed with the volunteers offering her thanks and praise. Before the ramp was finished, the homeowner was already showing pride in the ramp by sweeping away the dirt and sawdust.

The experience wasn’t just rewarding for the homeowner, it was also incredibly fulfilling for the volunteers. “It’s a great feeling to know you are making someone’s life a little easier and to see something tangible that you helped create at the end of the day,” shares Joe Battisti, Senior Manager of Flight and Maintenance Safety. “I enjoyed interacting with the homeowner who was incredibly grateful for the work that we did.”

Kathy Wig, a new Piedmont team member and first time Do Crew volunteer reflects that helping build the ramp was a very rewarding experience. “This event was a terrific way to spend a sunny day working outside to benefit a family who really needed our help.” Both Kathy and Joe look forward to volunteering again.

“It is always nice to see the Piedmont team helping our neighbors in the communities where we live and work,” shares Piedmont CEO Eric Morgan. “In this case it was especially nice to see the large turnout to serve a disabled veteran on Veterans Day.  In doing so, I think our Piedmont team was sending a message to all of the veterans on our team as well as in our community that, we see you, we appreciate your service, and we care enough to take action to do something good for you.”

When the ramp was complete, the homeowner was presented with a bible signed by the volunteers, donated by the Chesapeake Housing Mission. After receiving the bible, the homeowner shared what an eventful day this was for their family. “It was a big day when we bought our house and a big day when we paid it off; today is right up there with those days,” she shared tearfully.

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