One young woman will get more independence while her father now has been given more freedom to provide for his family.
Builders Care, the non-profit arm of the Lee Building Industry Association, surprised a local family with a wheelchair ramp last week.
It will benefit 18-year-old North Fort Myers resident Shayna Miller, who lives with spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy.
A local family now has more independence for their daughter. Pictured are mother Kym Scouten, daughter Shayna Miller and stepfather Chad Scouten.
Due to ongoing infections, pneumonia and severe seizures, she is wheelchair bound.
"The family recently moved to North Fort Myers from Michigan and their new home was not handicap accessible, requiring Shayna's parents to carry her up and down the stairs," said Heidi D. Taulman, executive director of Builders Care.
The ramp donation may seem small to many, but to this family, it is a way for their daughter to have a new independence, and her stepfather a way to keep work.
"I've had to forego jobs because she (and her mother) could not get out of the house for her to go to school," said stepfather Chad Scouten. "She is my daughter and she is my idol, with everything she has been through."
The disease has kept her in a wheelchair since she was 9 months old, but it's been even more restrictive since the family moved to Florida in June.
He noted numerous surgeries and treatments, with her inability to get out of the house without assistance.
"My wife Kym is a research person. She is constantly researching our daughter's health care needs - and when she went on the Internet to see what we could do for her she found Builder Care."
He said he was just looking for some help with supplies, as he planned on building the ramp himself. He is a carpenter by trade. But instead he got a full crew of volunteers and even a designer, with all supplies needed.
"The materials could be estimated from $2,500 to $5,000," he said.
He worked alongside volunteers that included a Builders Care crew and volunteers Jimmy Rodgers, Tom Killingsworth and Darrell Craycraft, along with Nilles Design Group of Cape Coral, which donated the design for the ramp and steps along it.
"It was a surprise for the rest of my family but they did need to tell someone because they were delivering the lumber, and that was me. This ramp means everything in the world."
Older brother Shelby Miller said, "She'll be able to come outside on her own, not be stuck in the house."
"This is our 29th project this year in total, of doing $1.7 million in emergency construction," Taulman said.
They do so many projects, but this one hit home for her over the holidays.
"We are always looking for volunteers, material and monetary donations."
Chad Scouten is a journeyman carpenter, who can now actively seek work.
"Because of the ramp issue I haven't been able to seek steady work, but now I can work," he said.
If you have any employment leads for Scouten, or wish to make a donation of time, supplies or funds, call Builders Care at 938-0056 and ask for Taulman.