ECOS launches wheelchair ramp Buckeye Funder campaign

Posted: February 8, 2017

Over the past year, Columbus resident Bonnie Bartee fell and injured herself several times, simply trying to climb the stairs into her own home. 

"I've had MS for 17 or 19 years now. I was falling a lot. It was awful. I cracked my head. I dislocated my knee. I was having all kinds of problems," Bartee said. "My doctor suggested getting a ramp so that I wouldn't trip. I haven't been falling at all since then. It's been great. I really appreciate it."

To support Bartee and many others resigned to life in wheelchairs or living unsteadily on their feet because of health problems, the Engineers for Community Service (ECOS) program at The Ohio State University stepped up to make a difference. Over the past 11 years, the team of student and faculty volunteers built 18 wheelchair ramps across Columbus at a cost of roughly $1200 each.

Throughout the month of February, however, the ECOS team members are  seeking public donations to continue their work to help others like Bartee, through the new Buckeye Funder campaign.

"I got involved with ECOS my freshman year. I had never used a drill, a saw, any wooden measuring tools before," ECOS president and ECE major Mary Scherer said. "With my electrical engineering beckground, I never thought that I would get the experience of designing a structure to code."

Scherer said the combination of volunteering and project management involved in each ECOS project has been rewarding.

"I can't think of any other club that really brings together the skills that we learn in the classroom, in such a hands-on way, that is so meaningful," she said. "Your donation helps purchase tools, helps purchase materials for ramps, goes toward the cost of permits. It has an enormous impact on Columbus community members in need."

Watch a video of Bartee and Scherer discussing the campaign:

To learn more and donate, visit: