Watford City community ‘pays it forward’ for new resident in need of handicap-accessible ramp

Local News

A Watford City woman simply looking for a step in the right direction turned into much more.

“He’s a patriot but he is stubborn. He’s going to fit in really well in North Dakota,” Kriss Hollis said.

Hollis is referring to her father-in-law, Max Hollis, who’s currently living in Louisiana.

“We argue over his age because l thought he was 90 because that’s what he told me, but he is actually 87,” Hollis said.

But it’s his age nonetheless that’s a cause for concern.

Hollis says over the last 10 years, her father-in-law has been living alone.

“We got a call they were having to take him to the hospital because he had fell down multiple times and we found out that he was skipping meals, doubling up on medicine, forgetting he was taking it and they basically said he couldn’t live by himself anymore,” she said.

To avoid making him stay at a nursing home or an assisted living facility, Hollis said she and her husband opened up their own home to him.

“He was all for it after he got out of the hospital this time,” she said.

But as exciting as they all are to be living under one roof together, there is just one major dilemma: how to make their home handicap and elderly accessible.

“I had no clue how to go about getting a ramp. The VA had built him one at his house in Louisiana, but I knew it was a long process,” Hollis said.

A process she says could take Veterans Assistance up to a year to complete.

So, in dire need of a handicap-accessible ramp and a bed suitable for her father-in-law, she took to Facebook, posting in the group Pay-It-Forward — a new Watford City page created and monitored by Tara Paul.

“I know we’re over 1,500 members and every single post that’s on there that’s asked for some type of help or them giving something you can see there’s multiple comments under each one so it’s not like anybody goes in there and it’s just like crickets,” Paul said.

“I asked for advice for help and next thing you know, Tara too, we’re both just being offered help,” Hollis said.

Hollis, who was simply looking for advice, got much more than what she bargained for.

Contractors and community residents were pitching in any way they could, from donating essential tools to completely building the ramp from scratch — free of charge.

“I’ve never been in the position to have to ask for help before, so it was really very humbling that people jumped up to help me when I asked for it,” Hollis said.

Hollis says her dad is expected to be moving in by the end of March and feels he’ll be more than grateful to see what his new community has done for him.

There is no timeline as to when the ramp will be started and completed, but Hollis is currently working things out with those willing to help.

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