Steel ramps additional way to help individuals in need – All community members are welcome to apply for assistance

Written by Bruce Lindner. Posted in Featured

Published on June 04, 2019 with No Comments

Sam Sandilla recently received ramp assistance from Bob Westfall, right, and the Kiwanis team.

A new partnership has allowed us to help even more community members access their homes.

PCACS is now working with the Valparaiso Noon Kiwanis Club to connect the team with individuals in Porter County who are needing a ramp due to surgery, illness or rehabilitation. PCACS helps financially and by identifying people that are eligible to receive help.

The Kiwanis team works mainly with steel structures, which can work as a temporary solution and be installed quickly, usually within an hour. They also can be removed as necessary, if the resident’s needs change or improve.

“Sometimes, after we would put a wood ramp in, the individual would end up going to a nursing home and their kids would come in and want us to take it out,” said Bob Westfall, ramp program coordinator with the Valparaiso Noon Kiwanis club. “We decided to go to metal. We let our clients use them as long as they need them.”

Westfall said he has personally seen the impact of the program.

“It makes such a difference for folks. There’s tears every time,” he said. “We did one recently in Portage where the caregivers had been carrying their 87-year-old father in and out for dialysis.

“We were able to put in a steel ramp in an hour and I tell you … Everyone’s eyes lit up. Ramps are especially helpful for those caring for these folks.”

We are honored to have the Kiwanis team’s help and the continued assistance of our other ramp program volunteer groups that include UAW/Ford Community Service Team, Task Force Tips, Habitat for Humanity and Thrivent for Lutherans.

Our other teams assist with wood ramps that offer a more permanent solution and a way to offer assistance when a steel ramp would not fit the participant’s property. We have more flexibility to match the ideal material to each individual ramp recipient.

Westfall said Valparaiso’s Kiwanis club is the largest in the state and has two main fund-raisers every year: a pancake breakfast in March and a corn roast set for August 3 this year in Central Park Plaza. The Kiwanis group also supports Riley Children’s Hospital.

“We help the world by helping one child and one community at a time,” he said.

PCACS is currently accepting applications for Porter County residents who are in need of a ramp, whether it’s something temporary or a more permanent structure. Renters must have permission from the landlord to have a ramp installed.

While those facing financial challenges will be given priority, all community members are welcome to apply for ramp assistance.

Those interested should contact Lindner via phone at (219) 465-7144 or via email at The ramp application is also available online at

Board member event

Our board member, Barb Kubiszak, is gearing up for her organization’s garden party.

St. Agnes Adult Day Service Center is celebrating the growth of its Serenity Garden with a grand opening and Greater Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce ribbon-cutting event.

The public is invited to the celebration at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 19 at St. Agnes, 1859 Harrison Blvd. Refreshments will be served and RSVPs are requested by June 14 at 219-477-5433or

This outdoor space is a serene spot for St. Agnes’ clients who are facing Alzheimer’s or dementia, she said.

It includes a gazebo, walkway, putting green, shade trees, fountain and mosaic posts.

“It is our hope that this peaceful place can help ease some of the anxiety that our clients can face on a daily basis,” Kubiszak said.

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About Bruce Lindner

All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Chronicle.  Bruce Lindner has worked in the not-for-profit world for more than 25 years and has been executive director of Porter County Aging and Community Services for five. A native of the Region, he was raised in Portage and he graduated from Valparaiso University. You can call him at 219-464-9736 or e-mail at

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