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Tyrone Boro and community resolve wheelchair ramp issue for injured Lincoln Avenue couple

Tyrone residents George and Kathy Kaup were involved in a serious motorcycle accident while participating in the “Bikers for Barkers” charity motorcycle run to benefit the Central PA Humane Society on July 6, 2008.
The couple, who reside at 1109 Lincoln Avenue, both sustained injuries due to the accident, but Kathy suffered the most with two severely broken legs. Her injuries have already required one surgery, with several more to come to repair the damage to her legs. Doctors told Kathy that she was centimeters away from cutting a main artery and perhaps bleeding to death.
George injured his shoulder in the July 6 wreck.
The Kaup’s have come upon dire need for assistance. Money is a problem since Kathy is confined to a wheelchair for the next six to eight months, and will be unable to work. George and Kathy recently looked to the Tyrone community for help.
A wheelchair ramp was a necessity at the Kaup’s Lincoln Avenue home, so that Kathy would be able to have access in and out of the house. Thanks to G&R Excavating and Demolition and the Central PA Humane Society, wood was donated to the Kaup’s to build a ramp at their home.
Local contractors Terry Hite and Rich Weyer donated their time to construct the needed ramp, not thinking anything else but to help the Kaup’s in their struggling time.
The Daily Herald published an article about the Tyrone community coming together to assist the Kaup’s on Thursday, July 17 and on the following morning, Tyrone Borough Code Enforcement Officer Jim Metzgar visited the Kaup residence to inspect the newly constructed ramp.
Metzgar informed the Kaup’s that the access ramp was an “unsafe structure” according to Pennsylvania’s statewide Uniform Construction Code (UCC), due to its lack of a railing and the steepness of the slope of the ramp. He also said that a permit wasn’t acquired, nor was there a drawing submitted to the borough for the project – which both requirements are the responsibility of the property owner.
The Kaup’s had seven days to reply to the Tyrone Borough Code Enforcement Office, but no action was taken according to Metzgar.
“I explained to the Kaup’s that we needed to address some issues,” said Metzgar. “The ramp was unsafe.”
Metzgar explained that the ramp needed to be constructed in a safe manner, whether it was temporary or permanent. He said that UCC regulations require wheelchair access ramps to be on a one inch rise per eight inch run. The Kaup’s ramp was approximately on a one inch rise per three and a half inch run.
“The borough didn’t want to see Kathy get injured further, there’s a responsibility and liability issue here,” added Metzgar. “My job is to make sure every structure in the borough is safe and up to code. It’s always been our best interest to help residents like George and Kathy.”
Tyrone Mayor James Kilmartin and Metzgar both said that the borough will assist the Kaup’s in resolving the wheelchair ramp issue. The borough, local contractors, and an engineer will be donating their time and resources to bring the ramp into compliance with UCC regulations. The Kaup’s will not be responsible for any fees associated with the project.
“The borough wants to work with the Kaup family in their time of need, but things need to be done right,” said Kilmartin. “It was great that the community came together to help the Kaup family out, and I applaud them for that.”
He continued, “Mr. Metzgar is just doing his job in making it safe for the family and following the regulations. I am doing the same for the local contractors and business people that are willing to rectify the situation, and help this family out in their time of need.”
“That is what is great about the Tyrone community,” added Kilmartin.
As for the Kaup’s, George and Kathy were disappointed and upset that the wheelchair ramp construction turned into the ordeal that it did, but they are both very thankful for everyone’s thoughts, prayers, and support – including the borough’s.
“I’m glad Jim (Kilmartin) is doing this to get it resolved,” said George. “We don’t have a dime to our name right now and we couldn’t afford to get another contractor in here to fix the ramp.”
He added, “Everybody’s been great in town. We’ve received food and monetary donations, along with everything given to get the ramp built originally. Kathy and I are so grateful.”