AmeriCorps builds ramp for Calera daughter, mother

Volunteers work to build Carrie Haynes and her mother, Mary Lee Kirkland, a ramp at their home. (Contributed)

Volunteers work to build Carrie Haynes and her mother, Mary Lee Kirkland, a ramp at their home. (Contributed)

By JESSA PEASE / Staff Writer

CALERA— When Carrie Haynes celebrated her 82nd birthday last week, she had no idea the present she was about to receive. Haynes has been taking care of her 100-year-old mother for about five years, and it has always been difficult for her mother to leave the house.

“My mom uses a wheelchair, and I hadn’t been able to get outside,” Haynes said in an April 28 interview. “This is why I wanted a ramp, so we could get it in the yard and carry her other places.”

Haynes’ son, Robert, tried to construct a small ramp for Haynes and her mother, Mary Lee Kirkland, but Haynes said he didn’t have all the right equipment. Instead, Robert usually just carried Kirkland in his arms out to the car when she needed to leave the house.

On April 23, volunteers from AmeriCorps, a civil society program that engages adults in public service work, and a local church group visited Haynes and Kirkland to build them a ramp.

Bettie Davis is the AmeriCorps representative for Shelby County, and said one of the AmeriCorps’ projects is related to home repairs and modifications. Haynes called in and was put on a waiting list for the ramp.

“They do an intake to find out what they need through the Alabama area agency,” Davis said. “So Mrs. Carrie has been on the waiting list, and we were able to get to her this time.”

The crew showed up around 9 a.m. and spent the whole day creating a ramp at Haynes’ home off Shelby County 231. Davis said this is AmeriCorps’ second ramp build; their kick-off was in Helena last month.

“I’m always excited when they tell (about projects). I’m always ready to go,” Davis said. “It was just so exciting to come out and do this. That is my heart, and I was so glad to meet Mrs. Carrie.”

AmeriCorps directors provided lunch for the church volunteers, and Haynes showed her appreciation by cooking country fish for Davis.

Haynes said she is thankful and excited to get her mother outside more often. She said her mother was also happy when she saw the ramp for the first time.

“I sit out there in my swing before we got the ramp watching the cars. Now, mom can get out there with me too,” she said. “I’m very happy with it, and I know she’ll be happy with it too. She likes to get out whenever she was able to.”