Partner organizations, volunteers make our impact even larger

Written by Bruce Lindner. Posted in Featured, Senior Living

Published on January 01, 2020 with No Comments

Patricia Beasley’s good karma came back after she gave up her place on the list for a ramp.

As we move into a new year – and a new decade – we look forward to solidifying our commitment to serve our communities for years to come.

Our 2020 resolution: to strengthen our ties with partner organizations that help us make the biggest impact possible!

We are very proud of how our ramp program has really reached more and more community members over the years. We have been able to connect with even more nonprofits and teams that bring a variety of skill sets to bolster our program.

We will continue to team up with the UAW/Ford Community Service team, Valparaiso Noon Kiwanis Club, Habitat for Humanity, Task Force Tips and Thrivent for Lutherans.

Since we began our program in 2007, we have constructed more than 70 ramps! We consistently hear from individuals who are impacted by the vital program.

Patricia Beasley received a ramp in the fall, a year after being initially identified as a community member in need. We had her on our list of recipients in 2018, but she was kind enough to give up her spot as her mobility issues had changed.

When she found herself in need of a ramp again, the UAW/Ford Community Service team was available to build it and the Rebuilding Together Portage helped finance the materials and lend a hand on the construction.

Teamwork at its finest!

“I thank each person involved in creating my project,” Beasley said. “I am just so excited and happy.”

Our ramp program is consistently in need of funding for those who cannot contribute to the financial side of a ramp. We accept donations on our website:

Depending on weather, we strive to install more permanent wood structures or metal ramps year-round. Those with mobility issues may just need temporary assistance, which is where a metal ramp comes in.

If you or a family member or neighbor are in need of ramp assistance, please fill out an application available at:

SHIP strong

We are always honored to have the State Health Insurance Assistance Program team right in-house.

The volunteer counselors have offices in our building, and they serve as impartial and free guides on Medicare decisions. They just wrapped up their busiest time of year as the Open Enrollment Period just ended in December. The team is able to answer questions and help Medicare recipients decide on the best plans and hopefully, save money.

The volunteers, led by Ginger Brockwehl, continue to be available year-round for questions and also continue to stay sharp with training.

“We update our training twice a year – in the spring and the fall,” Brockwehl said. “This keeps us fresh on all topics and introduces us to anything new or any changes.”

Brockwehl said the team continues to connect with resources, including what is available at the SHIP state offices and partners throughout the Medicare and aging communities, such as the National Council on Aging.

“All are advocates for Medicare beneficiaries, the elderly and limited income folks,” she said.

SHIP counselors often are active in additional nonprofits.

“All of our counselors are volunteers, and many have other volunteer activities. They volunteer as much as they want,” she said.

For new SHIP volunteer Jim Mooney, the initial goal was to give back to the community.

“As soon as the training began, I found myself asking the question, ‘How can anyone do this cold on their own?’ There’s quite a bit to making a good decision in Medicare and the SHIP counseling training helped immensely,” he said. “Helping people make good decisions in Medicare while also helping them save costs in Medicare is a very fulfilling experience.”

We thank all of our nonprofits that we have the privilege to work with and look forward to making a stronger effect in the future.

Happy New Year!


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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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