A couple of hours building a new wooden ramp can change the livelihood of disabled individuals, and that’s what happened Friday afternoon in Dallas.
The Dallas Mavericks and servicemen and servicewomen from the 301st Fighter Wing Joint Air Force Reserve Base Fort Worth teamed up with the Texas Ramp Project to install two wheelchair ramps for Dallas homebound veterans with mobility needs.
Mavs first-year center Moses Brown (7-2, 245) participated in the event as the Mavs joined NBA teams across the country for Hoops For Troops Week. The 22-year-old said he was honored to help build the ramp that will allow the two homeowners to now have more freedom.
“Today, I’ve just been drilling and stuff and building a ramp,” said Brown, a native of New York City. “I was telling them that my dad does carpenter work, and I was really excited to get out there and do something like this today.”
Mavs Academy coach Ronard Patton was among several members from the Mavs organization that volunteered for the event. Patton said he’s been blessed with many great opporutnities in this lifetime and wants to provide others with the same kind of love. This service project in particular had a personal mission.
“Today is an opportunity to give back to the community,” Coach Patton said. “This specifically touched my heart because my father-in-law recently came home from the hospital, and he’s in need of a ramp at home. So this was also a chance for me to get a little bit of knowledge on how to help construct one for him if it comes to that.”
Patton spent hours working alongside members of the military, with the guidance of Texas Ramp Project leaders, to construct the new ramp.
“They’ve been really great,” Patton explained. “You can tell they are used to being in a position of command and control because whenever something has to be done, they step right up and are the first ones to volunteer. They’ve been really great to work with, really supportive and have a great sense of humor. It was really special to get to know them a little bit.”
Each year, the Mavs and NBA family comes together for Hoops for Troops Week in celebration of Veterans Day (U.S.) and Remembrance Day (Canada) to recognize and honor our active-duty military, veterans, and their families. Throughout the week, NBA and NBA G League teams, players, coaches, and referees will work closely with members of the military to positively impact communities.
The Mavericks have several activations throughout the week to honor and recognize active-duty military and veterans at home and abroad. Serving together is critical in hopes of building stronger connections and communities in North Texas.
The Mavs franchise also employees numerous staff members who are military veterans. This year, Veterans Day is Thursday. Nov. 11, 2021. The day pays tribute to all American veterans—living or dead—but especially gives thanks to living veterans who served their country honorably during war or peacetime.
In the past, the Dallas Mavericks and 301st Fighter Wing volunteers have partnered with local food shelters to assemble care packages and meals to fight against hunger to those in need. This year, the volunteers helped The Texas Ramp Project install two ramps for two Dallas homebound families in need of better access getting in and out of their homes.
For Senior Airman Laura Mendoza, 73rd Aerial Port Squadron porter, service isn’t anything new. However, this opportunity provided her a learning experience and chance to team up and serve with the Dallas Mavericks.
“It is nice to see the Dallas Mavericks working with veterans in the community,” said Mendoza. “This is my first time volunteering with a ramp build. I did some drilling, I helped carry some plywood and set up the ramp. The military is all about camaraderie and family. This is something we as veterans should be doing and I am glad the Mavs were here with us.”
The Texas Ramp Project is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that provides free wheelchair ramps to low-income older adults and people with disabilities identified by local health care providers. Ramps are built exclusively with volunteer labor, keeping costs to a minimum. Ramps are built without regard to race, religion, ethnicity, age or gender.
On Friday, the Mavericks also donated $2,500 to the Texas Ramp Project in addition to building the two ramps.
It was an important day for the veterans who received the ramps because the concrete steps outside their door can often feel like a prison sentence. It’s the same situation for thousands of Texans with mobility issues.
According to leaders with the Texas Ramp Project, some disabled and older adults will stay inside for years because there’s no one to lift them or help provide a safe way to get outside. This is especially true for individuals either on a fixed income or with little financial resources. They are often stuck inside and receiving a ramp can truly change their lives.
The Texas Ramp Project provides ramps for those in need at no cost to the homeowner, allowing them to leave their home safely and efficiently.
Safe access for people with disabilities is an ongoing issue, and the Texas Ramp Project received over 4,000 referrals last year alone.
Even amid a pandemic, the organization hustled to fulfill as many requests as possible. However, they have faced numerous obstacles along the way, including a lack of volunteers from corporations that no longer have service days. In the past, TRP also relied on many retired and older volunteers who have pre-existing conditions and the pandemic has limited these individuals from being around others right now.
For this reason, the Mavs and 301st Fighter Wing Joint Air Force Reserve were thankful to give back to these families and applaud the exceptional work of the Texas Ramp Project. It was a step forward for the community, even in a small way.
Brown said he’s fortunate to play the game of basketball for a living, and his parents have instilled within him a more profound desire to give back to those less fortunate.
“I have felt a connection to the city of Dallas since arriving here,” Brown shared. “It’s more than just getting out on the court and playing. I want to be a great example for the community and just help everyone in the community as best as I can and use my influence and platform.”
“Thank you to all the volunteers who gave of their time and effort to help within the community,” said Master Sgt. Jeremy Roman, 301 FW Public Affairs senior enlisted leader. “Most of the 301 FW Reserve Citizen Airmen live and work in the DFW area [when they are not in military status]. We are glad to be able to give back in any way we can in order to reciprocate the amazing support the 301 FW has received from our community.”
“We want to support our military and our veterans as much as we can,” said Emily Luth, Dallas Mavericks manager of corporate social responsibility. “We want to make sure they know that we are here for them and we love serving alongside of them. We all are part of the Dallas/Fort Worth community.”
If you would like to learn more about the incredible work of the Texas Ramp Project and find ways to help, click here.
To see photos from 301 FW and read the feature story by Staff Sgt. Randall Moose, click here.
DALLAS MAVERICKS HOOPS FOR TROOPS WEEK ACTIVATIONS:
During the Mavs home game against the Miami Heat, the Dallas Mavericks recognized Army Staff Sergeant Yan Carlos Barreto as the Mavericks 6th Man. Sgt. Barreto recently let for deployment.
During their home game versus New Orleans, the Dallas Mavericks will recognize over 200 active military and veterans through their Community Ticket Program.
The Dallas Mavericks, Mavs Gaming will host a two-Day NBA2K22 Clinic for DFW members of the Wounded Warriors Organization. Veterans of the organization will have the opportunity to participate in a one-day virtual coaching clinic with Mavs Gaming coach, LT Fairley to learn the fundamentals and skills of NBA 2K22. Coach Fairley is military veteran.
The Dallas Mavericks, Mavs Gaming will host the second day of the Wounded Warriors NBA2K22 Clinic, with the veterans and their families at the Mavs Gaming Hub to tour the facility, free play on the Mavs Gaming setups and join in NBA2K gameplays with LT, Zaeya “Zae” Ishak, Mavs Mascot Champ and Mavs ManiAACs.
The Dallas Mavericks will host children and families from TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program For Survivors). The organization provides comfort, care and resources to all those grieving the death of a military loved one. Since 1994, TAPS has provided comfort and hope 24/7 through a national peer support network and connection to grief resources, all at no cost to surviving families and loved ones.