Realtors construct wheelchair ramps for housebound amputee and disabled wife


Approximately 60 real estate professionals from the Northeast Florida Association of Realtors (NEFAR) helped an amputee, who had recently suffered from a heart attack, and his disabled wife, who has survived two strokes, gain access to their Southside home when they built two permanent wheelchair ramps March 23.

Using supplies provided by Builders Care, the charitable arm of the Northeast Florida Builders Association, the NEFAR members, working under the direction of NEFAR’s Community Affairs Task Force, attached a front deck to a ramp in the front of the home and built a sizeable deck and ramp in the rear of the property, so the couple can enjoy their backyard.

The Realtors also painted the trim on the house and plan to replace the home’s shutters at a later date.

The couple, Dana and Karen Sword, are both confined to wheelchairs and have been housebound for the past eight months.

“We expected a little ramp to get out the door; we didn’t expect all this,” said Dana Sword, referring to the two large decks that were also built on the front and back of the house. “We couldn’t get out the door before without me hopping on one leg and pulling the wheelchairs behind me. The ramps make it so we can get out of the house. This impacts us greatly.”

NEFAR’s Community Affairs Task Force has several other charitable events planned this year including a visit to ReThreaded on May 5, where members of the real estate community will deconstruct old leather seats so the materials can be used to make handmade items to be sold by the nonprofit. Also planned is a community-wide river and ocean clean-up event July 23.