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Bikers build ramp for local veterans

Members of the Arkansas Honor Ride took a break from their work on a service ramp to take a photo Friday. They were building the ramp for Ben and Tina Milam. The Milams are both veterans of the U.S. Army. Pictured left to right: Andy Rood, Jim Elliot, Jason Davis, Wendell Roberts, Kathy Watkins and Mark Aho. Not Pictured: Kevin Carr, Levi Vincent and Jackson Feuerbacher. Photo by Dewayne Holloway



NORMAN – Local veterans Ben and Tina Milam now have a new ramp leading into their house thanks to the efforts of members of the Arkansas Honor Ride.

The Milams are both veterans of the United States Army. Ben served as a criminal investigator and Tina was a member of the Women’s Army Corps (WACs) and worked in the Pentagon. Both are retired now and Ben is disabled.

Due to Ben’s disability the Milams felt a ramp would offer easier access to their home. The VA had provided Ben with a scooter to offer him better mobility. The Milams then asked them if they could help with the installation of an access ramp. The VA contacted Stanley Bee, a Veteran Service Officer in the Hot Springs Area, to see if he knew anyone who might help the Milams.

It just so happens that he had been talking to members of the Arkansas Honor Ride about the possibility of getting involved in some local service projects.

The Arkansas Honor Ride is an annual event that allows motorcyclists an opportunity to gather and honor American military veterans. They meet in Little Rock and ride to the Veteran Memorial in Hot Springs. They have recently raised money for the Fort Sam Houston Warrior and Family Support Center.

Their mission statement declares that their purpose is to honor, directly help, and improve the quality of life for wounded military members and their families who are recovering at Warrior and Family Support Center and continued assistance as they return to the local community.

Wendell Roberts, President of Arkansas Honor Ride, stated that although they enjoyed what they have been doing for the past four years, they wanted to get more involved with veterans locally.

When VSO Bee told Roberts and other members of his organization about the Milams and their need they thought it was a perfect opportunity to give back locally.

Roberts contacted the Milams and on Saturday, November 4, they showed up at the Milams home to begin work.

When the group got there they discovered that the Milams needed more than a ramp. Ben’s disability is such that his knees are in constant pain. He has a hot tub that he uses to relieve the pain in the knee. However, due to the construction of their deck it was difficult for him to get in the hot tub.

“They had these old rickety steps” Roberts explained as he shook the handle on the steps. “And he was using a rope to pull himself up and over into the hot tub. It was dangerous.”

The group of builders decided that they would update the Milams deck to provide easier access to the hot tub. They built the deck up beside the hot tub so all Ben has to do now is ride his scooter beside the hot tub and just slide over into it.

This impromptu addition to their renovations required the bikers to return Friday, November 10, to build the ramp. A group of six returned Friday and finished the ramp for the Milams.

Everyone involved was just glad to be able to help two veterans who had dedicated their life to the service of their country.

Roberts stated that this was the first project they had done, but they already had another scheduled in Malvern which was to be completed Veterans Day.

The Milams were very appreciative for the work the group from Arkansas Honor Ride had done.

Ben stated that the work the men and women were doing for them revealed that there is still good in the hearts of people.

Those involved in the project include: Wendell Roberts, Andy Rood, Jim Elliot, Jason Davis, Kathy Watkins, Mark Aho, Levi Vincent, Kevin Carr and Jackson Feuerbacher.

For more informaton on the Arkansas Honor Ride check out their website at arkansashonorride.org, or find them on Facebook at facebook.com/ArkansasHonorRide. They can also be reached by phone at (501) 276-1452.