Building Hope constructs ramp for double amputee
By By Adam Prestridge
Lemon Perdue has spent his last three birthdays confined to a wheelchair inside his Northgate Drive home.
Today, he will turn 70 and will be able to enjoy the pleasures of the great outdoors he once loved so much.
Perdue, a double amputee from Atmore, hasn't been able to go outside unassisted since having his right leg amputated in 2003. This year, it became more difficult for him after having his left leg removed in July.
"I couldn't get in or out by myself," he said. "I had to wait on somebody to help me."
His wife of 44 years, Juanita, said it made her feel guilty because she isn't strong enough to assist her husband outside.
"I am too weak," she said. "I'm not strong enough to help him."
She went on to say that it scared her to leave him alone because she knew he wouldn't be able to leave the house should something happen.
"I didn't like to leave because he couldn't get out," she said. "In 2003, he could get down better, but if someone else besides me wasn't here, he couldn't get outside."
Several volunteers with Building Hope gave Perdue an early birthday present Saturday by building him a wheelchair ramp that allows him to come and go as he pleases.
"I appreciate it to the highest," Perdue said. "We're so thankful, it's a blessing."
Perdue, who is a native of Fort Deposit, moved to Atmore in 1984 where he worked as a handyman. He said poor circulation was the cause of having his legs amputated. He said he was extremely excited about the ramp built by Building Hope.
"I like to go outside and roll around in the yard," Perdue said with a smile. "Now I can again. I love the ramp. I think a lot of it."
"It sure is nice," Juanita added. "Now, he's able to go outside by himself again."
Executive director Glen Maholovich, a member of Atmore First Assembly of God, started Building Hope as a ministry to help local families in need three years ago. Building Hope is a nonprofit organization and performs projects for elderly, disabled and disadvantaged people. The organization is located in the downstairs of a home on 208 South Trammell Street.
A five-person board of directors that is responsible for screening referrals that are made to them from other organizations or individuals to verify that an individual qualifies for assistance runs the group.
"Individuals who are referred to us have to complete an application," Maholovich said in a previous interview. "We then screen them to see if they qualify. Once we have a project, we solicit money from the community until we reach the necessary amount and then we solicit the community for volunteers to do the work."
The organization also files for grant money to assist with the day-to-day operations and scheduled projects. According to Maholovich, Building Hope would also like to gain a corporate sponsorship from a business or businesses to help with the expenses involved.
"In our first year we repaired three houses," Maholovich said. "The second year we did six houses and this year our goal is to do 12 different projects. When we go to someone's house to work, it doesn't cost them a dime."
Building Hope began with Maholovich's wife, Vanessa, as she worked with elderly people as a nurse with a home health company.
If you are interested in helping Build Hope for residents of Atmore call 4468796 to volunteer or call Glen Maholovich at 327-6528.