Jim Hill and Washington Street Baptist Church in Winnsboro have a mission. Not in a foreign country, but right here in Fairfield County.
For more than seven years, 85-year-old Hill and other church volunteers have been building wooden ramps to enable handicapped residents gain better access to their homes, churches and even Fairfield Memorial Hospital.
“We have built 194 ramps over the seven-year period,” Hill said after dismantling a ramp from one home in Winnsboro to be used at a new location on Wednesday. “And right now, we have five people on a waiting list. I stay busy all the time.”
Hill moved to Winnsboro in 1958 and immediately became a member of Washington Street Baptist. He owned C and C Grocery here for 27 years. He started building ramps with other volunteers at church after a church member needed a ramp. He said the materials needed for one ramp runs $350.
“A lot of people can’t afford it,” said Hill. “Our church and other donors help out. We do accept donations. We get referrals from the Fairfield Council on Aging, The Board of Disabilities, rehab people and doctors.”
Helping others brings special happiness to Hill.
“Sometimes, when a person first gets pushed up and down a new ramp at their home, they cry for joy,” said Hill. “That means so much. I promised the Lord I would build ramps ‘til the day I die. That’s what we’re here for is to help each other.”