Masonic Lodge builds ramp for disabled woman, mother in Anderson County


CLINTON (WATE) – A woman in Anderson County who lost a leg to cancer last year is grateful to a group of men who made her life a lot easier.

Oney Bean thanked the men who built her a ramp so she can now leave her mother’s house without falling.

“It’s helped me so much. You’ll just never know what it means to me,” she said.

With her new prosthetic leg, descending this gentle sloping 40 long ramp makes a world of difference.

WATE 6 On Your Side first encountered Bean last July. At the time, she had not yet been fitted for a prosthesis. She lost her leg to cancer in January 2014.

Bean told us last summer how the closing of the Johnson Gap Bridge in Anderson County made her commute to the doctor’s office a lot longer.Previous story: Anderson County residents want answers about unrepaired bridge

When members of Alpha Masonic Lodge in Clinton learned of Bean’s disability and of her limited income, they gathered their resources to build a ramp not only to Beans’s house, but a second one next door to her mother’s home. Opal Bean is also disabled.

“Our main focus is to help widows and orphans. We take care of them whenever we’re notified about it,” said lodge secretary Jeff White. “She had a need.”

“If we find a true need and we can assist in any manner, that’s what we’re about as lodge brothers,” said benevolence chairman George Kelly.

Negotiating these steps was next to impossible for Oney Bean. The ramps have helped change her life.

“I love these guys, and I’m walking better. I’m getting a lot of exercise and it’s helping my leg. I don’t have to sit and back up those steps no more. And I don’t have to hop down those steps anymore because these guys made it special for me,” she said.

“It made us feel like we had accomplished something. It’s better to give than to receive,” said Senior Deacon Earl Huckaby.

Opal Bean, who is disabled by heart disease, is grateful for what she received.

“The men really done a wonderful job for both of us,” she said.

While a Masonic group engineered, gathered the material and raised money for these ramps, it is one of the core services for the Disability Resource Center in Knoxville

“It’s just great to get other groups involved because the more people who are building ramps, the better,” said Lillian Burch with the Disability Resource Center.

The Disability Resource Center sets up about 20 ramps a year and enlists college groups, scouts and fraternal organizations to build them for those who are eligible.

“There is an application to fill out. Then we’ll get you in touch with the right people to get you the materials and the people to help build those ramps,” said Burch.

Bringing everyone together this week since the ramps were built three months ago clearly touched their hearts.

“I love you guys so much for everything you done for me. God bless you. I pray for you every night. Thank you all so much,” said Oney Bean.

If you know of someone disabled and in need of a ramp, the Disability Resource Center is your first point of contact. Grants are available to build ramps, but that kind of money is not in abundant supply.  Therefore, a lot of volunteer labor and material support is needed.How to help:Disability Resource Center

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