On a wet, rainy Saturday in May, three PLIB staffers and three friends gathered at the Thompson house in nearby Algona and stared at the growing puddle of water and mud that was slowly encroaching on their work space. The weather was far from ideal but the cause couldn’t be better. The group had gathered to build a much needed access ramp for Colby Thompson, a six year old boy with severe mobility issues and the victim of shaken baby syndrome.
Colby’s case is well known in the State of Washington; it inspired legislation known as the Colby Thompson Act which was signed into law in May 2011 by then Governor Christine Greqoire. The Act aims to address unlicensed child care in Washington State and Colby’s parents fought hard to see that the legislation was passed. They continue to support educational efforts and remain active in the legislative process on this subject. It’s a battle they will fight for the rest of their lives, alongside their precious, sweet son.
On this particular Saturday; however, the Thompson family would be the recipient of a wheelchair-access ramp that would help mom and dad maneuver Colby’s larger wheelchair in and out of the house, making life a little easier for the family and allowing Colby the opportunity to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine that Washingtonians cherish in the summer months.
The ramp was built by the PLIB team as part of the Master Builders Association’s (MBA) annual Rampathon event which has been active since 1993. It was the second year PLIB participated in the event (click here for information about last year’s ramp). According to the MBA “Rampathon is an annual program…where members and volunteers build free wheelchair-access ramps for…homeowners throughout King and Snohomish counties.” Over 400 ramps have been built and more than 1.7 million dollars in in-kind contributions have been provided as part of the program. 2016 was the biggest event so far, with 37 ramps built. Local and regional media outlets covered this year’s event and you can learn more about the Thompson’s story and other Rampathon participants by viewing KING 5’s coverage of the 2016 Rampathon.
“To be able to help a family like the Thompsons and make their life a little easier in a small way is very humbling and rewarding for every member of our team” said PLIB President, Jeff Fantozzi. “Rampathon is a great program that gives us an opportunity to give a little back to our community and brings our employees and friends a little closer to the people who live and work next door to us.”
The rain and mud didn’t have a chance. When Colby and his mom rolled down the ramp for the first time, Colby’s smile said it all.
For more information on the MBA Rampathon project, see the MBA website www.mba-ks.com or click here.