Local vets build ramp for fellow veteran

Todd Dunn (left) and Mike Bell (right) hard-at-work building a ramp for a West Portsmouth Navy veteran on Thursday, Nov. 12. Photo by Patrick Keck.

The completed product.

WEST PORTSMOUTH — The nation celebrated veterans Wednesday, but for two area individuals: Veteran’s Day is every day.

That’s why Todd Dunn and Mike Bell spent two days getting supplies and then building a ramp for a West Portsmouth Navy veteran Thursday.

That veteran, Andy Reinhardt, had recently suffered a stroke and has been recovering in the hospital ever since. Now a wheelchair user, Bell understands that the hospital was not willing to release him from their care without having a ramp at his residence.

Bell had met Reinhardt a few years ago at American Legion meetings, but Dunn has actually never met the man. When Bell received word that Reinhardt needed help, he immediately sprung into action.

Although serving in different branches of the military, Bell and Reinhardt shared a bond as veterans. This is what drove them to help out Reinhardt, they said.

“This here’s going to be his Veteran’s Day gift,” said Bell, an Army vet. “I’m a veteran and it’s just about helping another veteran.”

Receiving the boards through donations from Lowe’s, Portsmouth Cement and Lime, and Ohio Valley Surplus and even doughnuts from Tim Horton’s, the two went to work Thursday morning.

“We’re going to make sure he has a ramp to get him into his house tomorrow,” said Bell, even if that meant working until the later hours Thursday.

Bell and Dunn were able to finish the project on-time despite losing power for one hour. The photo sent to the Portsmouth Daily Times came in a little before 5 p.m., meaning they had worked on the construction for a little more than nine hours that day.

The completed ramp extends 4-feet wide and 14-feet out from the front porch to the sidewalk with barriers on the sides to keep the wheelchair from falling off. The stairs had to be removed before starting the project, but Bell and Dunn said they will keep them nearby for Reinhardt’s motivation.

“When he gets better, we’ll take this out and put the steps back,” said Bell. “That’ll give him the gumption to do his therapy and get better.”

Reach Patrick Keck (740)-353-3501 ext. 1931, by email at pkeck@aimmediamidwest.com, or on Twitter @pkeckreporter.© 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved.