MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

May 1, 2012

Samaritans construct ramp for scooter user

Facebook post on situation triggers action by members of Warner church

— A disabled Muskogee girl is getting a new ramp thanks to caring volunteers — and impatient motorists.

Willie Watts, who lives on busy East Okmulgee Avenue, says he meets his stepdaughter’s school bus each afternoon so he can carry her inside. The girl, Gideon Crumpler, 13, has a rare defect that stunted her growth and affects her ability to walk and to speak. She uses a motorized chair to get from the bus to the front steps.

Watts said that after carrying Gideon five steps up to the porch and putting her on the couch, he gets the scooter.

“The school bus usually waits until I get her in before it leaves,” Watts said.

He said he often hears people behind the bus honking.

On April 20, Anita Waters Kilgore heard the honking, too. She said she was driving on Okmulgee and watched the bus stop and Watts carry his daughter from the bus into the house.

“All the cars were honking, and the girl turned around and looked so sad,” the Fort Gibson woman  said.

She posted her thoughts about the situation on the Facebook social network, she said.

“Someone needed to speak up about it,” Kilgore said. “I got 85 responses immediately of people wanting to help.”

One of those people was Sam Dunn, the pastor of First Baptist Church of Warner.

“I just jumped on it,” Dunn said.

Within hours, volunteers and donors got together to help the family get a handicapped access ramp for Gideon.

“They just stopped by one day and said, ‘Hey, you might need a ramp,’” Watts said.

Watts, who builds steel barns, said the family has lived in the rented house for only a couple of months. He said he has not had time or money to build Gideon a ramp.

People also met with the landlord and with the city to get proper permits, Dunn said.

“The city was wonderful. They said we didn’t need permits.”

Monday morning, volunteers from the church started installing the ramp alongside the house.

“I think it’s awesome, what they’re doing,” Watts said.

The ramp wasn’t finished by the time Gideon got home Monday from Alice Robertson Junior High School. Watts came out, carried her inside, then got the scooter. Traffic stopped.

Gideon grinned and said “ramp” as she watched the men work.

Watts said the ramp will help Gideon to get up the porch on her scooter. It also will give her more mobility in the morning. Watts said Gideon’s mother, Stephenie Crumpler, works evenings and gets Gideon ready each morning.

“This is all about helping people,” Dunn said. “All credit goes to Anita for seeing the need and to God for meeting the need.”

Reach Cathy Spaulding at (918) 684-2928 or cspaulding@muskogeephoenix.com.

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