About 20 volunteers from two Skagit area motorcycle clubs and Skagit County Fire District 14 teamed up on Saturday to build two wheelchair ramps and a gravel path at the residence of a local Marine Corps veteran.

Firefighter/EMT Mikee McKeon came up with the project after responding to a recent call at the residence south of Alger.

McKeon said he learned the veteran had trouble leaving his home because his back deck lacked wheelchair ramps. He said the lack of a drivable path — needed in poor weather conditions to bring a vehicle to the back porch — had also prevented the man from visiting the doctor all winter.

McKeon, president of the local chapter of the Fire and Iron Motorcycle Club, contacted friends at the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association, which builds ramps for veterans, with an idea for the project.

McKeon said adding the two ramps and path will allow the man to get to the doctor easier, and boost his quality of life.

“It will raise his spirits, as far as mental health,” he said. “Mental health is super important for physical health.”

The new ramps will also help first responders do their jobs more safely, McKeon said.

“Being able to get him out of his house without causing other injury is a better service to the community, and without hurting one of our guys,” he said.

Russ Celia, executive officer of the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association, said Saturday’s work was the club’s biggest project yet.

Skagit Aggregates, Cascade Lumber, Frontier Building Supply and Ideal Rent-All donated materials and equipment for the project.

“It’s the companies’ generosity in the area that allows us to do this,” Celia said.

Members of the Berserker Brotherhood, another local organization, also volunteered.

— Reporter Jacqueline Allison: jallison@skagitpublishing.com, 360-416-2145, Twitter: @Jacqueline_SVH

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