For the first time in five years, lifelong Signal Mountain resident Heidi Nentwig McClure is able to get out of her home on her own, thanks to a new ramp built by fraternal life-insurance organization the Modern Woodmen of America.
McClure has had a rare skin disease since birth, which causes her to become hurt easily and has slowly cost her the use of her hands and now her feet.
"There are times in my life when I'm better at coping than others, and this is one of those times," said McClure. "It helps to have people who love you with their antenna out."
McClure's mother, Marion Nentwig, learned about the organization and the projects through an interview around the time ABC's Extreme Home Makeover featured the Sharrock family of Rossville, Ga.
The ramp at McClure's home is the ninth built so far this year by the Modern Woodmen, which has a regional office based in Ringgold. Financial representative Buster Smith said five more ramps, referred to by the group as "Good Neighbor" projects, are already in the works.
McClure said the Woodmen will return within the month to put strips of sandpaper on the ramp, which will allow her to more easily push herself back up.
The Modern Woodmen's regional office can be reached at (706) 866-8018.
"When we leave we get a blessing when we see they can get out of the house," said Smith, who has built more than 100 ramps in his 12 years with the organization.
McClure had previously looked into a wheelchair lift, which she said would set her back $7,000 to $8,000.
"I'm still looking for a used lift no one else needs," said McClure.
Her husband, Bob McClure, had carried her down the five stairs from the couple's front door since June 2006.
"We bought this house when I could still walk," she said.
"She is one of the most amazing, strong and beautiful women I've ever met," said McClure's nurse, Catherine Ballard.