Midlands man says he couldn't have lived without EmmanuWHEEL ramp much longer

GASTON, SC (WIS) - Looking for a way to give back? WIS-TV will sponsor the annual 24-hour donation drive, Midlands Gives, Tuesday, May 1, featuring more than 300 nonprofit organizations.

That includes EmmanuWHEEL, a group that provides wheelchair ramps to families throughout the Midlands. Roosevelt Wilson recently had a ramp installed at his home in Gaston.

"It's been times I want to go out, sit, and I couldn't," Wilson said. "I had to pull to the door and stick my head out."

Wilson says a swimming accident infected his foot and in 2008 his leg was amputated, leaving him bound to a wheelchair.

"It's a big change," Wilson said. "It's like starting all over again."

Just when he thought things couldn't get any worse, a part of Wilson's other leg was amputated just last year.

"It's no fun. It's rather hard. It takes a lot of motivation," Wilson said. "It takes strong mind and will."

He says it's a burden that affects not only him but his entire family. That's when his wife made arrangements with EmmanuWHEEL.

"Lifting myself, going up the steps, backward, you know? It was really hard," Wilson said.

The group provides wheelchair ramps free of charge, all thanks to donations.

"God is sending us to these people's homes to do this and that's why we're here," managing director Chris Sharpe said. "We actually purchase all of the lumber and everything needed for those donations and then we rely on volunteers who want to come along and just provide the manpower."

Wilson expressed to Sharpe how thankful he is, and not just for the ramp.

"With him, he made everything possible for that ramp out there for me and I still 'thank you,' I appreciate it. Thank you so much. He's been like a friend. He's been like a brother. He's been there," Wilson said.

He says the easy access to his home, has been life-changing.

"I don't think I could've done without it any longer. It was getting to the point that it was just getting stressful and harder for me. It's been very helpful to me. It's been the best thing I could ask for."

EmmanuWHEEL has 12 different groups of volunteers throughout the Midlands who go through a training and learn how to build these ramps from scratch.

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