Central Carroll roundup: Community builds handicapped ramp for veteran

Central Carroll roundup: Community builds handicapped ramp for veteran
Volunteers from the Eldersburg area work on a ramp for veteran Price Tarleton. (Submitted photo)

When retired Army Cpl. Price Tarleton needed a little help, members of Wesley Freedom United Methodist Church in Eldersburg stepped in. Then folks from Home Depot, United Rentals and the neighborhood arrived, forming a team of citizens who were all ready to make life a little easier for an 87-year-old who had served his country well.

Tarleton uses a walker now, and he'd had multiple falls on the steps leading into his home. But things will be easier now that he has a new ramp, finished in December by a team spearheaded by Wesley Freedom.


Tarleton was a personnel administrative specialist between 1951 and 1953, during the Korean War. He was assigned to the U.S. Army's 332nd Engineer Aviation, a battalion headquarters inside Kelly Air Force Base in Texas, and he was part of a group called Special Category Army Reassigned With Air Force (SCARWAF) who built runways, drainage systems, and other construction projects for the army.

Tarleton's son, Stuart had gone to the Veterans Services Program of Carroll County, where he learned that approval for the project could take up to two years. But an associate there — a member of Wesley Freedom United Methodist Church — knew that his church was looking to start a new program called Ramp It Up. This would be right up their ally.

Sharon Feldman, director of community life at the church, jumped at the chance to kick-start the program. She consulted with Home Depot and learned they were already working on other accessibility projects inside the Tarleton's home. While they couldn't provide outside labor, they could help with needed building materials.

The project began on October 15, the very day Tarleton and his wife Suzanne were celebrating their 61st wedding anniversary.

The group set to work with church member, Chris Cicciarelli volunteering as the site manager. His day job as a construction foreman was an asset. He was familiar with county building codes and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations. Working from blueprints drafted by another volunteer, he created a supply list and developed a work plan while Feldman scheduled workers to dig 24 concrete footers and attack the pile of lumber donated and delivered by Home Depot.

United Rentals had provided a backhoe for digging, but when the piles of dirt and lumber started to get in the way, one of Tarleton's neighbors — Josh Miller — volunteered to move the lumber with the Bobcat he owned. As the weeks stretched out, more neighbors dropped by bringing coffee to workers and then stepping in to help move furniture inside the house for the Tarletons.

Volunteer Mike Crowl said, "On some of the colder days, [Tarleton's wife] Suzanne kept the group supplied with coffee and conversation, both of which made the work go by more quickly."

The Ramp It Up team seemed passionate about their work, perhaps because most of the workers were also veterans. Crowl said it meant a lot to be helping a veteran and his wife.

"The most satisfying thing for me was knowing that I was helping this wonderful couple with something they desperately needed," Crowl said. "I had heard that [Tarleton] had fallen many times trying to descend the concrete steps from his porch, and it's by the grace of God that he hasn't been badly injured as a result. Seeing in his face how much he appreciated the work our group was doing was very satisfying."

The concrete porch was covered with decking to raise the height, and porch railings were raised, too. Footers were adjusted after a county building inspection, and handrails and barriers were added. Working on Saturdays, the team kept at it with construction stretching out over a two month period, finishing up in December.

"It is wonderful to be able to, using my rolling walker, make trips to get our mail and paper," Tarleton said of his new ramp.

It seems the ongoing ramp project had a snowball effect, with the group of volunteers growing larger as the project progressed. With the Ramp It Up crew, neighbors, the Veteran Services Program, Home Depot, United Rentals and other volunteers this large project met success. Mr. Tarleton was there for his country. His community was there for him.

"I think it's important for communities to step up and help those who can't help themselves," Crowl said. "For me, it was highly rewarding to work with such a dedicated group of volunteers who always showed up to get the job done."

'The Vagina Monologues'


On Friday, Feb. 3, and Saturday, Feb. 4, McDaniel College students will perform Eve Ensler's celebrated play, "The Vagina Monologues," at 7:30 p.m. inside WMC Alumni Hall.

This is the 14th year that the play has been performed at McDaniel. All proceeds will benefit Rape Crisis Intervention Services of Carroll County, Family and Children's Services of Central Maryland, and the One Billion Rising Foundation.

Tickets cost $10; $5 for seniors over the age of 60, active military members and veterans, as well as anyone with a McDaniel College ID.

"The Vagina Monologues" is based on Ensler's interviews with more than 200 women. The award winning play celebrating women's sexuality and strength will be directed by McDaniel senior, Jennifer Shillingburg of Oakland, Md., and will include McDaniel students, as well as English professor Becky Carpenter. It's being performed in association with V-Day, a global movement to stop violence against women and girls. Further information about V-Day can be found at

McDaniel College is at 2 College Hill, Westminster.

For more information or to purchase tickets, call 410-857-2530.

Reese Fire Company Auxiliary Breakfast

The Reese Fire Company Auxiliary will hold its monthly breakfast 7 to 11 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 19, inside the social hall at the fire company.

Sue Olnick — who is on the board of directors for the auxiliary — said folks should stop by to check out their breakfast.

"It's a great breakfast," she said. "The guys from the fire company usually come up to help us out and it's a fun time. Everybody tells us it is the best one around. Everything is homemade."

The breakfast, which is held on the third Sunday of the month from October through March, features a full menu. Look for eggs, pancakes, sausage, sausage gravy, biscuits, hominy and pudding, fried potatoes, baked apples and orange juice, tea, hot chocolate, and coffee.

"We support the fire company. The auxiliary purchased two new utility vehicles for them and we are paying them off now," Olnick said, noting that funds from the breakfast will go toward this goal.

Breakfast will cost $8 for adults and $4 for children ages 6 to 12. Children under the age of 6 eat free.

Reese Fire Company is located at 1745 Baltimore Blvd. in Reese.


For more information, call 410-245-3048.

Lois Szymanski covers Finksburg, Gamber, Pleasant Valley, Reese, Sandymount, Silver Run, Smallwood, Union Mills and Westminster. Reach her at 443-393-7811 or