Cove House gets new ramp from local club and church volunteers
By LYNETTE SOWELL
Cove House Emergency Homeless Shelter now has a new deck and ramp, courtesy of the sweat and muscle power from dozens of volunteers in a project led by the Killeen-Heights Rotary Club.
The volunteers converged on Cove House both Friday and Saturday mornings to complete the deck and ramp.
Bob Crouch, current club president, is a Copperas Cove resident and belongs to Grace United Methodist Church, and said the project came about after a conversation he had with Brian Hawkins, the executive director of Cove House.
“GUMC has helped repair the deck and ramp several times, and in talking with Brian about some projects for the shelter, we came up with the idea of replacing the deck and ramp,” Crouch said.
GUMC took care of providing the lumber and volunteers, with fellow churches First United Methodist Church of Killeen and Salado United Methodist Church also sending volunteers. Killeen-Heights Rotary Club members, the National Mounted Warfare Foundation, the Exchange Club of Copperas Cove and Five Hills Scholarship Pageant royalty pitched in as well.
The deck and ramp replacement comes at a good time, according to Hawkins. The deck floor had become more unstable and while the past repairs helped, the existing structure had recached the point it needed replacing, he said.
Earlier in the week, Hawkins demolished the existing ramp and deck at the shelter. The prep work and framing followed, with the framework for the deck and ramp being constructed Friday, and volunteers pushing through to install railings and more to complete the project on Saturday morning.
Crouch said for him, projects like this are a blessing to help with.
“I’ve been on mission trips through my church,” Crouch said, “but seeing this happen in our community? I’m proud of seeing what groups coming together can do.
“Cove House does so much for the community; they don’t just give people a place to stay for the night, but they help them get back on their feet.”
Five Hills Junior Ambassador Kaydence Weary, along with Miss Pre-Teen Five Hills Emily Kimball were two of the youngest volunteers, who along with a number of the older royalty were helping. Volunteers held pieces in place, cut lumber, drilled holes, sanded, and more.
“I’ve never helped work on anything this big before, but I did help my grandfather build boxes,” Weary said, adding that she’d built wooden Blessing Boxes for pet supply donations at another nonprofit, Thanks For The Little Things.
The Killeen-Heights Rotary Club began working on monthly ramp projects in Central Texas last summer. This is not their first project in Copperas Cove, with the club completing a ramp for a family on Mountain Avenue.
The Cove House project is unique for the club, as they typically have built ramps at private homes, with recipients being screened by the Heart of Texas Independent Living Council and other referrals within the Central Texas community.
Crouch said there are specific regulations for constructing an ADA-compliant ramp. He credited Killeen-Heights Rotary member Todd Perrin with visiting each site for a prospective ramp and is responsible for their planning and design.
“Every site is different, but the regulations are followed when building each ramp,” Crouch added.