CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — “Diligent, dutiful, faithful... “; those are just a few words Father John Hardie uses to describe Doug Wayland.
Wayland leads the Access Plus Wheelchair Ramp Ministry at Saint Mark’s Episcopal Church on the Southside. The ministry has been building ramps for those in need for the last twenty years.
“The inspiration for this came from a field trip between Father John Hardie and Richard Johnson who was in a wheelchair at that time,” said Wayland.
“But I saw how many obstacles we ran into just stopping for gas, trying to get into a convenience store, going to a restaurant, getting into the place of meeting that we were supposed to be in,” Father Hardie recalls.
Wayland continues, “Father Hardie said 'Dick are there needs for people to need a ramp out of their house?' and Dick said 'yes, there is'."
It was that spark two decades ago that set the ministry into motion. Ten percent of the church’s operating budget goes to outreach projects like those led by Wayland.
“So we have the funds, we had the builders, we had the plans... working through Coastal Bend Center for Independent Living, we've had a continuous list of people to build for since June of 2001,” he says. Waylon estimates there are still about 19 projects on the ministry’s waiting list.
We asked, “how many ramps do you think you've built?“ Without missing a beat, Wayland replied, “well I know exactly, I keep the list-- it's 269 projects.”
It takes about four hours for the team to complete a ramp.
Linda Fallwell Stover is the Executive Director of Coastal Bend Center For Independent Living. She says that Wayland " inspires others who joined him and expand that ministry and that service.“
One example is a project Wayland remembers fondly.
“There was a young man who had brittle bones disease that lived in a trailer home in George West. Somebody had built them a temporary ramp and still had one more step into the house, had no rails.”
As the little boy's help arrived from Corpus Christi, the good will spread throughout George West.
“We went up and built that with the help of people in the George West area and left them in much better shape. And that crew that helped us built a couple more ramps in that same area,” Wayland says.
“He’s been that spark plug over the last 20 years along with his team and he'll be the first to recognize his team who have joined him in this effort,” says Fallwell Stover.
And for that contagious good deed, we recognize Doug Wayland.
Thank you on behalf of KRIS 6, you are our newest KRIS 6 Angel. We want to recognize you for the work you’ve done in the community and thank you for how much you’ve helped the community.
Doug remains humble, saying “thank you, Stefanie, but it’s not me. I’ll hang it on the wall, but it’s my angels in our ministry, this church who pray for us, donate for us, and build for us that really earned this award.”
If you’d like to get involved, contact St. Mark’s Episcopal Church on the Southside, located at 2727 Airline Rd in Corpus Christi.