Operation Ramp It Up is an initiative that was launched in 2014 in Cincinnati by Greg Schneider, a 40 year driver at UPS, along with The UPS Foundation and the VFW Foundation.
The mission was originally implemented to give mobility back to disabled veterans and/or their spouses, by installing wheelchair ramps to help them access their homes with ease. We now are broadening our search to help any family with a need for a ramp that has exhausted all other resources for consideration of the installation of a ramp.
The process starts with an eligible candidate that is in need of a ramp, being identified through an application process and a possible personal interview by the CEO. In order to be eligible for the ramp, the veteran or spouse has to have exhausted every means of government support and been rejected by other agencies including their medical insurances.
Once need and credibility has been established through Operation Ramp It Up’s board, the process to secure funding begins. The primary source of funding in the past has been The UPS Foundation along with additional funding by other companies and private donors.
The board may contact the local VFW in the area of the prospective ramp recipient for assistance in funding, or reach out to private donors or organizations. The VFW Foundation is a non-profit that is a national contact to help identify disabled veterans.
Operation Ramp It Up will keep searching to secure the funding by reaching out to as many resources as necessary.
The ramp is installed by all volunteers from various organizations such as the VFW, American Legion, and Boy Scouts. It typically takes between 4 – 6 hours to prepare the site, assemble the sections, and install the ramp. The ramps are provided to Operation Ramp It Up through EZ-ACCESS Ramps out of warehouses in Michigan and Washington. EZ-ACCESS Ramps is a company that provides access solutions in commercial and home accessibility through the Pathway Modular Access System. They are a division of Homecare Products, Inc. and have an extensive network of local authorized dealers.
Either through EZ-ACCESS Ramps or other organizations, a subject matter expert will be on site to oversee the assembly and installation of the ramp.
The ramps are aluminum and are essentially a “kit” that can be taken apart and reused at another site so there is a sustainability aspect to this initiative. When the ramp is installed, the veteran and his/her family are aware that if at some point the ramp is no longer needed, it will be re-deployed for use by another veteran. We do request that the ramp recipient contact Operation Ramp It Up and allow us thirty days for the disassembly, removal, and proper transport of the ramp.
As of October 14, 2019, 70 ramps have been installed in fourteen different states across the country. Dozens of volunteers have logged thousands of hours.
There have been a number of elected officials and leaders from Veteran Service Organizations that have participated in some of the installations. U.S. Congressman Brad Wenstrup from Ohio and U.S Congressman Peter King from New York have both participated in ramp installations. This type of involvement has enhanced Operation Ramp It Up’s reputation as a non-profit organization that values veterans and their sacrifices.
The initiative has received many positive media stories and in 2016, the UPS Corporate Employee Communication function produced a video featuring the installation of the ramp in Long Island, New York.
Since Operation Ramp It Up is not yet its own 501(c)(3) organization, our partner, the VFW Foundation remains involved with the installation of our ramps and will act as the fiduciary agent to receive the funds.