Butler County man’s nonprofit restores mobility, dignity to the disabled

A Butler County man's nonprofit organization, Operation Ramp It Up, restores the mobility and dignity of disabled veterans and others with little means who need a wheelchair ramp. Greg Schneider, a 41-year UPS driver, started this program seven years ago and has built more than 100 ramps in 21 states. This ramp on Elmo Street in Hamilton was the 101st constructed by the organization. CONTRIBUTED
A Butler County man's nonprofit organization, Operation Ramp It Up, restores the mobility and dignity of disabled veterans and others with little means who need a wheelchair ramp. Greg Schneider, a 41-year UPS driver, started this program seven years ago and has built more than 100 ramps in 21 states. This ramp on Elmo Street in Hamilton was the 101st constructed by the organization. CONTRIBUTED

A 41-year UPS driver felt the need to go the extra mile to help out disabled people and veterans, and regain their mobility and dignity.

Seven years ago, Greg Schneider, with the help of his UPS colleagues and the UPS Foundation worked on building a wheelchair ramp for a veteran. Today, they have constructed more than 100 ramps in 21 states through his network of suppliers, contractors and volunteers.

His goal is to have a ramp constructed in every state.

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The Liberty Twp. resident and his family created their own nonprofit organization last year and is involved in every project coordinating the volunteers and materials to build aluminum ramps all over the country.

“Our mission is to give mobility back to veterans, their family members, or others in need of accessibility by installing wheelchair ramps at their homes, with no cost to them,” Schneider said. “We also retrieve and recycle ramps that are no longer needed and reuse them for another veteran so that each ramp recipient is paying it forward to another veteran.”

Greg Schneider, left, of Operation Ramp It Up is with a veteran from Harrison, Ohio who received a wheelchair ramp from the Butler County nonprofit. CONTRIBUTED
Greg Schneider, left, of Operation Ramp It Up is with a veteran from Harrison, Ohio who received a wheelchair ramp from the Butler County nonprofit. CONTRIBUTED

The first ramp was built in the Bond Hill neighborhood of Cincinnati and the 101st was recently built for a veteran with mobility and health problems in Hamilton. Schneider said the organization tries to build one to two ramps a month. He said about half of the ramps have been built in the Tri-state area.

He said he likes to give back to the community and was a UPS volunteer at area food pantries. He joined his fellow UPS volunteers working on a local ramp project and became interested in doing more ramp projects.

The nonprofit is operated by Schneider, his wife Lisa and their four grown children who attended Sacred Heart and Badin High School.

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“We do not turn down any applicant based on their income or location,” he said. “We simply ask for confirmation that the VA or their insurance has denied installing a wheelchair ramp before we agree to proceed.”

He said wheelchair ramps can cost between $6,000 to $12,000, but it costs the organization on average about $6,000 per ramp.

Schneider said the organization secures volunteers, funding, contractors, and complete the entire installation process. He said the organization can construct a wheelchair ramp in about two hours.

“It’s rewarding but it does take a lot of work to get it done,” he said. “The ramp is theirs for as long as they need it,” he said.

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And when the user cannot use the ramp anymore or dies, the organization will pick it up and reuse it at another location. Schneider said their 65th ramp was built a few years ago in Fairfield for a spouse of a deceased Pearl Harbor veteran. She died recently and they are reusing that ramp in West Carrollton.

They also recently built a ramp for an ALS patient.

“Those who volunteer keep coming back,” Schneider said. “Just the experience and gratitude you get provides a lot of satisfaction. Volunteers say they can’t wait for the next time to build a ramp.”

When Schneider eventually retires from UPS, he hopes to make his nonprofit work his full-time job and working with his wife and family.

“It is a project we enjoy doing together,” Schneider said. “There is such a gratifying and rewarding feeling to give back to those who gave us our freedom!”

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