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Group builds ramp for veteran, helps other vets

Purple Heart Michigan built this ramp for William Gregones on Saturday, July 7. Courtesy photo.

Solon Fire and members of Purple Heart Homes. Courtesy photo.

By Judy Reed

Purple Heart Homes West Michigan Chapter and Team Depot made life easier for some of our veterans over the weekend.

On Saturday, July 7, the group met at the Cedarfield Community on 17 Mile Road, next to Meijer, to build their first Dale Beatty Memorial Ramp for U.S. Navy Vietnam veteran William Gregones. The also assisted three World War II veterans with cleaning up around their homes by trimming bushes, mowing the grass, cleaning out and raking flower beds, and power washing their homes.

According to spokesman Doug Pickel, they built the ramp to make it easier for Gregones to get in and out of his home. “That’s what Purple Heart Homes is all about, removing the barriers in their home to improve their quality of life,” explained Pickel.

While planning to build the ramp, he discovered through discussions with community manager Marilyn Doane that there were also three World War II veterans in the park: Tom Sharpe, Clarence Carlon, and Louis Milewski. 

“So I talked with Rolling Thunder Chapter 4 of Muskegon, as well as Combat Vets MC and Solon Township Fire and asked them for help with this random act of kindness for all four. The veterans were very happy for the company and hard work, but most of all the kindness and friendship of the whole day,” remarked Pickel.

Solon Township Fire posted about their experience helping with the project on their Facebook page. “It was a great experience that we were glad to be involved with in our community. Thanks to everyone who was a part of today’s experience,” they wrote.

The ramp was built in memory of Dale Beatty, a founder of Purple Heart Homes and a veteran. Courtesy photo.

The ramp was built in memory of Dale Beatty, one of the founders of Purple Heart Homes who passed away unexpectedly on February 12. “Dale always had a huge heart for our veterans, being a double amputee from the US Army himself, and one of my good friends. So we’re doing these wheelchair ramps in his honor, something he always wanted to do,” explained Pickel.

After the work was done, they held an ice cream social for everyone, and had a special cake for one of the veterans and his wife, Tom and Shirley Sharp, who celebrated their 64th anniversary July 10.

To follow what they are doing, like their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/PHHWM/.

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