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Helping the disabled veteran society has always been a long term goal for the American Galvanizers Association (AGA) and the hot-dip galvanizing industry. One step toward achieving this goal was taken earlier this year when a full size wheelchair accessible ramp was designed, fabricated, galvanized, and installed for veteran Bill Taff through the Aid-A-Veteran program in Tennessee.

This innovative ramp was designed by Pat Neuhoff, President of Neuhoff Taylor Architects and galvanized by David Ware of Tennessee Galvanizing (who also donated the steel). John Hoover of Direct Metals donated the grating, and fabrication as well as installation was provided by Allen Taylor of Clarence Taylor Construction. This excellent collaboration led to a 100% donated ramp; including the materials, design, galvanizing, fabrication, and the installation, giving Mr. Taff his mobility and freedom back.

Once the idea of aiding a veteran was planted into Pat Neuhoff’s head, it was a little stroke of luck that led him to meeting someone from the Aid-a-Veteran organization out of Cleveland, Tennessee. Once he learned of Mr. Taff’s need, he immediately reached out to his contacts in search of a way to build this ramp. Many people, including veterans, who are in need of adaptive technology, such as accessible ramps, do not have the means to install them. However, the difference they can make to someone’s life is priceless.

“What I found most amazing about the whole project was that every person we asked to help said 'yes' immediately. There was no hesitation to donate time, money, and effort – just because they wanted to help,” Neuhoff said.  

David Ware, owner of Tennessee Galvanizing, has been looking for a way to get more involved with the veteran community since the AGA first started the Ascension design competition with architecture students. When this opportunity arose in his community, he was excited to be a part of it and more than happy to donate his time and resources.

 “It really was a small thing for each of the individual people or companies to volunteer their resources, but it was a very big deal to the veteran who needed the ramp. We were glad to be a part of it,” said Ware.

Now installed, the ramp allows Bill Taff to enter and exit his home without the complication of stairs and thanks to the durable hot-dip galvanized coating will withstand the Tennessee environment for years to come. After installation, Taff noted his gratitude, “The ramp is complete and it is great. Thank you to everyone who made it happen.”

The impact this one ramp has made not only on the benefactor Mr. Taff, but also all who were involved in the project is stunning. The AGA and everyone involved hopes this will be the beginning of a movement to donate and install more ramps throughout the U.S. to veterans in need who valiantly served our country.