‘What a life-changer’: Habitat for Humanity builds wheelchair ramp for Minot man free of charge

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A huge aspect of life was made simpler for a Minot family.

“I do his home care and I live with him and take care of him and take care of the yard,” Anita Hushchka said.

Huschka is talking about the care she provides for her father, James Baker, who is 94 years old and living with cancer.

“He’s in a wheelchair full time now,” Huschka said.

For the last year and a half, Hushcka says getting her dad in-and-out of the house has been tough.

“I was taking him up and down the stairs and we both fell on the stairs a couple of times in the back part of the house and the firemen had to come,” she said.

Huschka knew if she wanted to keep helping her father without hurting herself, they needed to find a safer solution.

That solution was to build a ramp, but that came with a hefty price tag.

“When we first started looking it was about $1,500 and then thanks to the virus and everything skyrocketing and the shortage in lumber, it jumped to around $4,000,” Huschka said.

Refusing to give up, she turned to the Northern Lights Chapter of Habitat for Humanity.

“What we do is we build homes for low- to moderate-income families and now within the last few years we have started some new projects called Home Preservation Projects,” Habitat for Humanity Northern Lights Chapter Executive Director, Roxy Volk said.

Which included families like hers.

“They sent me some papers to fill out and they got us grants to help us cover the costs,” Huschka said.

Just a couple of weeks ago, volunteers with Habitat for Humanity began building a wheelchair ramp for James.

Wednesday evening, the ramp was completed and ready for use.

“He’ll finally get to be able to leave the house and we can get to the clinic. I can take him for a walk,” Huschka said.

“It’s something very simple, but what a life-changer,” Volk said.

“I don’t know what we would have done if it wasn’t for them,” Huschka said.

Habitat for Humanity Northern Lights is one of more than 220 Habitat organizations across the country awarded a $15,000 grant from Wells Fargo to continue their mission of helping and giving to those most in need.

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