Words by Tess Becker
Accessibility issues are everywhere, and according to the CDC over 1 in 4 people in the US live with some kind of disability. Schools may lack accessible learning options, or someone’s home may lack a wheelchair-accessible ramp.
An Ohio contractor wanted to change that for one family.
Jerry Tonjes, a contractor in Napoleon, Ohio who owns JT's Building and Construction, was one of many contractors contacted by the Wirick about adding an accessibility ramp to their house after their father had knee replacement surgery and was using a wheelchair to get around.
“I called about 50 contractors and three of them got back to me. One of which was Jerry,” Jamie said.
After Jerry finished the ramp on the house and the Wiricks tried to pay, he declined.
“There was no cost,” Tonjes said. “It came to the point where it was minimal dollars. It was just a good gesture that I just felt I had to do for [Jamie].”
His act of kindness also came from a place of empathy, relating to their situation.
“I've been going through the same thing similar with my fiance,” he said. “She had multiple myeloma cancer, so we were trying to give back to the community. She's doing well.”
Beyond anything, he just wanted to help a family that needed it.
“I've done multiple ramps for people but it's just sort of hit me,” Jerry said. “I can do something good for a change because we don't have a lot of good in the world right now.”