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A Brush With Kindness Provides Freedom for Homeowner

Tom Ritt and his wife Nancy have been living in their Dubuque home for over 20 years. Tom says, “it’s nothing spectacular, but it’s home.” It is a place they can call their own and where they feel most comfortable. However, after 20 comfortable years, home became a place no longer suitable for Tom and Nancy to live.

Nancy has been living with multiple sclerosis (MS) and about two months ago, it started to affect her ability to be mobile. She started needing a walker and wheelchair to get around. Suddenly, their home went from a place of comfort to a place where Nancy felt trapped and isolated. The stairs leading up to the front door of her own home were too difficult for her to conquer in her fragile state.

“We knew we were going to have to do something before winter because she wasn’t going to be able to get up and down the stairs,” said Tom.

Nancy needed some assurance that she could come and go freely, so Tom took action. He talked to his landlord who suggested he reach out to Dubuque and Jackson Counties Habitat for Humanity. Tom made the phone call and the project fit perfectly with Habitat’s A Brush With Kindness program.

Tom could hardly contain his excitement about the project, but especially about what the ramp means for Nancy.

“I feel fantastic – it’s a big relief off my chest, it really is. She can get in and out and she doesn’t have to worry about it. I don’t have to go do all the shopping, she can go to the store, she can go to her doctors’ appointments,” he said.

Nancy has finally regained the freedom to come and go from home as she pleases, and home is once again synonymous with comfort rather than frustration.


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