TDUN ramp with HH

This ramp at Blacksburg resident Tony Dunford’s house was a joint effort between New River Valley Disability Resource Center and Habitat for Humanity of the New River Valley.

Two New River Valley agencies pooled resources this year to give one Blacksburg man back his independence.

New River Valley Disability Resource Center and Habitat for Humanity of the New River Valley began working together on the project back in mid-February.

Blacksburg resident Tony Dunford, a recent amputee, was facing accessibility challenges when he contacted the center. They responded by attaining funds to cover the cost of materials and construction, which was at no cost to Dunford.

“Many NRV agencies lean on each other for support and resources to solve one problem at a time,” said NRVDRC Community Advocate Tiffany Allison. “In this case, Mr. Dunford contacted us at the center and we reached out to Habitat for help with construction of the ramp.”

Habitat Construction Manager Joe Gruss led a crew of high school volunteers from the Blue Ridge Christian Camp for two days as they worked on Dunford’s property.

Trevor Flannary, a student intern for Habitat, stated, “It was very gratifying to build this ramp and help Mr. Dunford move in and out of his home independently.”

Barb Clark, Dunford’s independent living coordinator at the center, organized the efforts between NRVDRC and Habitat.

“Working with Habitat for Humanity was a positive experience,” Clark said. “The contractor and crew were professional, pleasant and accommodating. We look forward to collaborating again in the future.”

Both NRV agencies were happy with their joint effort and the outcome.

“It’s important to note this project really began with Mr. Dunford self-advocating for his needs,” Allison said. “As community advocate, this is the stuff I like to see.”

New River Valley Disability Resource Center’s mantra is “growing independence,” which translates into advocating for individuals with disabilities so they can have equal access and opportunities. The center works with all ages and disability types free of charge.

For more information about New River Valley Disability Resource Center, call 266-1435. For information about Habitat for Humanity of the New River Valley, call 381-1144.

Submitted by Tiffany Allison

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