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Iowa organization installs free ramps for vets and their families | PAY IT FORWARD

The Combat Vets Association in Clinton, Iowa, has installed dozens of ramps for veterans and their spouses in need.

CLINTON, Iowa — Programs across the nation exist to help disabled veterans have increased mobility, but what about for military spouses? In some programs, a disabled spouse of a veteran doesn't qualify for the same assistance. A group of combat veterans came together to fill in those gaps.

Trisha Elliot helps take care of her mom, Mary, after an injury. Taking her mom to appointments was a challenge. 

"We were struggling," Elliot said. "To get her up and down the stairs, it took two people."

When looking for ramps for her mom, she searched to see if veteran-focused organizations could help her out since her dad is a war veteran. 

She went to a couple of organizations, but she found that because her mom wasn't a veteran, she didn't qualify. That is until she found Johnathan Lanxon and the Combat Vets Association.

The Combat Vets Association is a group of volunteers, some veterans themselves, working to better the lives of veterans and their spouses. 

"(Lanxon) and the group of volunteers that he works with not only came to help us put in a ramp but everything was donated so it was no cost to us," Elliot said. 

Now, Elliot wants to "Pay It Forward" to Lanxon and the volunteers at Combat Vets Association in Clinton.

Normally, "Pay It Forward" awards $300, but Elliot took it one step further and told friends and family that Combat Vets Association won. She was able to raise an additional $200, giving a total gift of $500 to help the association with its mission.

As of May 26, Lanxon and his team had installed 40 wheelchair ramps. The association also helped veterans pay bills during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and even remodeled rooms when needed.

Now, the recipient of the ramp has her life back. 

"I can go down the ramp on my own," Mary Elliot said. "It feels like I'm more back to normal."

The Combat Vets Association helps people in Clinton, Jackson and Muscatine counties as well as people in the Quad Cities area. While many of the ramps are donated, the group still covers the cost of other materials, such as tools and lumber. Sometimes, those costs come out of the volunteers' pockets.

Click/tap here to contact the Combat Vets Association Facebook group and make a monetary donation.

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