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Boy Scout makes LDS building accessible for elderly, disabled

Boy Scout makes LDS building accessible for elderly, disabled

(Calvin Jensen)


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Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes

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WELLINGTON, Carbon County — While 12-year-old Jim Atwood attends activities in the cultural hall of his LDS meetinghouse, others struggle to even get into the room.

Without access to a wheelchair ramp, a number of elderly and disabled members, including Jim's mother, Jo Ellen, are unable to attend church activities, according to Jim's father, Clay Atwood.

Due to the age of the church building, it was not up to date with the current Americans with Disabilities Act standards.

Jo Ellen Atwood has previously been unable to attend many of Jim's Scouting events, which have taken place inside the cultural hall of the meetinghouse of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

But as the result of Jim's Eagle project — building a ramp on the side of the cultural hall — she will be present as he pins the Eagle Mother's pin on her at his Eagle Court of Honor, Clay Atwood said.

"I feel it is important, because many of the elderly people we all know and love are not being able to participate in the activities that are going on, and we are leaving out the elderly and disabled of our ward and saying no to them," Jim Atwood said. "And we need to make sure that after these years that we can finally can say yes."

In addition to building the ramp, Jim plans to reconstruct the existing stairs that will be next to the ramp, replace nearly 60 feet of handrail, replace the door and add handicapped signs and parking spaces to meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards, Clay Atwood said.

Currently the building ventilation flows outside the building where the ramp will be.

The final drawing of 12-year-old Jim Atwood's plans to construct a wheelchair ramp at his LDS Church building. (Photo: Jo Ellen Atwood)
The final drawing of 12-year-old Jim Atwood's plans to construct a wheelchair ramp at his LDS Church building. (Photo: Jo Ellen Atwood)

The 12-year-old also designed a way to get the ventilation from the cultural hall through the wheelchair ramp to outside of the building by inserting a tube that will go through the concrete, bringing the ventilation from underneath the cultural hall.

In order to install the new additions, Jim will need to raise $4,300. His older brother set up a GoFundMe* for the project and so far it has raised more than $4,100.

According to Clay Atwood, the LDS Church has helped fund the project and church leaders have been supportive of the project.

Jim Atwood broke ground on the project Monday. Along with volunteers, he will likely have spent between 700 and 800 hours by the time they are finished. The plan is to complete the ramp Sept. 30.

"It will improve the church building greatly, because one, it will be the start of beginning to modernize our church, especially to ADA standards," Jim Atwood said of the forthcoming ramp. "I believe this is going to be the so-called one small step for me, one giant step for The Church of Jesus Christ."

*KSL.com does not assure that the monies deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account, you should consult your own advisors and otherwise proceed at your own risk.

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