SEAFORD – It initially started about a month or so ago with discussion about a wheelchair ramp.
The finished product unveiled Saturday at the Lyons family residence east of Seaford blew that initial idea to smithereens.
Volunteers and a caring community determined to bring joy to 4-year-old Ryker Lyons and his family literally ramped it up to an amazing level with Ryker’s Ramp-A-Palooza. (Click here for photo gallery).
Working in rain and even snow, skilled roofers, electricians, homebuilders and others teamed with a ladies’ interior design crew and landscapers in an overall makeover that provided something special for the family.
“Nothing was going to dampen our spirits,” said Good Ole Boy Foundation member Josh Wharton. “Rain, snow, sleet, it didn’t matter. We were going to do it. We delivered.”
Ryker, who has Duchenne muscular dystrophy and someday will be confined to a wheelchair, can now play in his very own clubhouse. It’s named “Ryker’s Garage.”
A ramp bridge from a new deck on the back of the home leads to the clubhouse, which has electricity, a television and other amenities. It’s catered to his love of garages and cars.
“We just wanted to bless this young boy. He’s got TV, cable – his own little oasis,” said Jason Tolson of Mid Atlantic Electrical Service of Millsboro.
Rusty Dukes of Dukes Lumber recalls the project evolution.
“I came here about a month ago and I talked to Ryker’s mother Brooke and his father Aaron. I came here just to figure out what kind of materials were needed to build a ramp and what it would cost,” said Mr. Dukes. “When I met with them, she said that she didn’t want just a ramp that looked like a handicapped ramp.”
Mr. Dukes offered the idea of a deck.
“She liked that idea. And then Josh (Wharton) and I got talking and Josh said, ‘Let’s build him a playhouse, a clubhouse,” Mr. Dukes said. “And it just blew up from there and expanded.”
The makeover includes a new grill for backyard barbecues, landscaping and new room paint schemes and amenities for Ryker’s older sisters, Kierstin and Camber.
Ryker can also wheel about in a super cool blue Power Wheels F-150, donated by Boulevard Ford in Georgetown.
And his clubhouse access features a real motorized garage door with remote control.
“We are just honored to be able to help the community and give back what we can,” said Jay Yoder of J & A Overhead Door of Delmar, De. “It’s a good cause and we are glad to help.”
The finished project was unveiled to the Lyons family upon their return from a one-night getaway at Francis Scott Key water park in Ocean City, Md.
“We don’t know how to say ‘thank you.’ But that’s all we can do is say ‘thank you,’” said Mr. Lyons. “It’s very much appreciated.”
Ms. Lyons, in a Facebook posting Saturday, offered these grateful words: “To say thank you would be the world’s greatest understatement. To tag everyone individually would be impossible. To know that we are not alone in this fight is beyond reassuring.”
About two years ago, Ms. Lyons walked in the rain from her Seaford home to Legislative Hall in Dover. She did it for her son in efforts to raise funding and awareness of Duchenne muscular dystrophy. The average life expectancy for individuals afflicted with Duchenne MD is around 25.
“We just want this family to know that even though this young man may have five to 10 to 15 years left, they are not in the fight by themselves. We just want to be a blessing and let them know that we are here,” said Mr. Dukes.
“There has just been a ton of community support here. This is Sussex County. This is what we are about. This is what we do, rally together to support each other,” said Mr. Dukes. “You call on guys and say, ‘Hey, there is a need. We need your help.’ The guys come out and work in the rain. We wouldn’t work this hard if we were getting paid. It is amazing to see all of these ladies and these men come together to bless this family.”
Katy Davis Wharton, part of the women’s makeover crew, shared this on Facebook: “Over the past few months, I have watched a simple request for a wheelchair ramp unfold into an ‘all-out ramp-a-palooza/pimp my room: Sussex County edition.’ And in true Sussex County fashion, we killed it! I have seen a brainstorm turn into a reality, better than even I could imagine. For such a well deserving family, too.”
Good Ole Boy Foundation member K.C. Conaway addressed the Lyons family prior to the revealing.
“We’re here behind you guys. You guys have got a lot of community support here,” he said. “We know it’s a fight but we are ready to get in the fight right with you guys.”
Visit Ryker’s Fight on Facebook.
Business and organization participants in the mega-makeover include: Dukes Lumber, Phil Thompson Construction, Penuel Signs, Mid-Atlantic Electrical Services, J & A Overhead Door, Solid Image, Peninsula Construction, Customized Lawn Care, Baker’s Hardware in Millsboro, the Chad Spicer Foundation and Home Team Realty.
NOTE: A list of additional businesses and other contributors will be included upon receipt and will be added to this article.
Sussex County Post Article - April 10, 2016