Florida Navy veteran receives new wheelchair ramp at his home

A St. Cloud veteran facing mobility issues is getting a new ramp installed at his home with the help of some local volunteers.

About a dozen people were digging, pouring, cutting and hammering, as they built a 30-foot wheelchair ramp for one of their hometown heroes. For the past few years, Vietnam veteran Bernard 'Terry' Hughes has relied on a wheelchair after multiple knee surgeries.

“I had a complete knee replacement in both legs and this one started giving me trouble,” Hughes said.

His condition only gets worse with age after years in the Navy and working on a farm.

“Eighty pounds worth of chain and steel that I run up and down the flight deck with trying to catch an airplane,” he said. “I think that had something to do with it too.”

Marion, his wife of 16 years, is also having trouble getting up the stairs.

“Not good because he depended on me all the time and I broke down,” she said. “That’s why it’s gonna be so nice that we can go up the ramp and into the house.”

Through the Helping Homebound Heroes program, the Osceola Council on Aging selected the Hughes gamily to have a new ramp installed at their home. All materials were donated by the Home Depot Foundation.

“I was never allowed in the service and this is my way of thanking them,” James Jandrew of the Osceola Council on Aging said.

As many as 120 ramps have been installed free of charge over the past 11 years and there’s no sign of this crew slowing down their mission.

“I just can’t thank them enough,” Hughes said.