Last weekend, three local teenagers joined their bus driver to help build a wheelchair ramp for their 14-year-old neighbor.
According to Dawsonville native Jim Hunt, his son Phillip and daughter Selah are always looking for ways to help in the community they live in. So when a local bus driver, who asked not be named, reached out to the teens about helping him build a wheelchair ramp for their neighbor, Gabriella Kinney, they jumped at the chance to help.
John Weisgerber, grandfather of the wheelchair-bound 14-year-old, said that a ramp was something his family had been needing for a long time. When he took his granddaughter to therapy one day, he was presented with a surprising offer.
"One of the parents that brings her child there said something to Gabbie’s therapist about how her husband is a bus driver and happened to notice me having to carry Gabbie into the house every time we pick her up," Weisgerber said. "So he asked if we would like for him to come build a handicap ramp for her, and we said yes."
He recruited the help of three teens that lived in the same neighborhood as Gabbie, and the small group met up on the morning of Saturday Aug. 28 to complete the project. Weisgerber said that it took about four hours, and that his granddaughter was excited to sit and watch the ramp go up.
"She came out and sat out in the garage and watched everything that went on," Weisgerber said.
Hunt said that not only did his teens sacrifice their time to help build the ramp, but they also sacrificed being able to sleep in on their Saturday off of school.
“They had an away game, both in the Dawson County band, and did not get home until close to midnight, Friday night,” Hunt said. “For teenagers, they claim they need all the sleep they can get, even if it is sleeping up to 12 hours a day.”
But instead of sleeping in the next day, they got up bright and early and showed up at their neighbor’s house at 7:30 on Saturday morning to work on the project.
Hunt said that, as a father, seeing his children spend their time and efforts to help out a neighbor in need is a very proud moment.
“I am very proud of them; they are both very good kids,” Hunt said. “They have very busy schedules, but yet they sacrificed their so-called sleep time to go and love on the folks in our community.”
Weisgerber said that the kindness and generosity of the team to take time out of their busy schedules to build the ramp means a great deal to him and his family.
"[Gabbie] has been using it, and everybody she runs into she tells them about the ramp she has in her garage," Weisgerber said. "It was a blessing that they did this, and I’m very proud and happy for what they did."