By M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal
LEE COUNTY – Arthritis and lupus have combined to slow 74-year-old Shirley Coker.
Tupelo Luncheon Civitan Club and Living Independence For Everyone have joined forces to make her more mobile.
“I don’t get around very good,” she said. “They’ve been really nice about doing me a ramp.”
The materials for the wheelchair ramp were provided by L.I.F.E., and Civitan members are putting in the labor. Electric saws and screwdrivers were blaring outside Coker’s front door on Tuesday.
“I don’t hear too good, so it’s not really loud,” she said. “It doesn’t bother me. I’m just happy they’re here.”
Coker requested her ramp from L.I.F.E. about a year ago. Another 17 people are in line behind her.
The work was inspired by a Civitan group in Florida, which has built about 400 ramps.
Tuesday was the group’s third trip to the house on Mount Vernon Road, and at least one more trip will be necessary to complete the work.
“Hopefully, we’ll get it down until it takes us about a day for each one,” said Susan Echols, a volunteer. “I don’t know how long it will take us to get to that point.”
Roger and Marla Elmore visited the site a week and a half ago to dig post holes.
“That was the day it snowed,” she said.
“It’s much better today,” he said.
Coker lives about a mile outside the Tupelo city limits, but her ramp will be built to city code, said George Copen, a Civitan volunteer.
“We might as well do it right,” he said.
To donate money or time to the project, call L.I.F.E. at (662) 844-6633.
“We don’t have the money for all of them, but we have the labor,” said Stephen Thompson, chairman of the project for Civitan. “We’ll be happy for any help we can get.”