Twin Cities Rotary Builds Ramp for New Program at the Veterans Memorial Museum in Chehalis


Fear not, said Michael Ervin, a Rotarian with Twin Cities Rotary, the aluminum ramp he and other volunteers were constructing on Saturday would not look anything like the shoddy picture it was then. 

Ervin and the rest of the building team have made a lot of ramps. Maybe around a dozen this last year, he said. But never before an aluminum one. This one is special — both for material and clientele. 

“Leon’s Team,” named for Leon Bowman, a former Twin Cities Rotary Club president who has since died, is a gaggle of Rotarians who install wheelchair ramps, mostly for residences across Lewis County. The one they were working on Saturday afternoon was outside the Veterans Memorial Museum in Chehalis, where a new portable annex will soon host peer counseling events.

Jesse Lloyd, director of Veterans Journey Forward, has been working with museum staff to get the program up and running, which will, in a sense, counsel counselors by training veterans, spouses and others to help themselves and each other with trauma. 

The peer counseling program, Lloyd said, will seek to offer therapy in as many avenues as possible, including art, nature, equine and conversational methods. He added that the Rotary’s work to get the ramp built is an “astronomical” help.

Ervin was proud to be a part of the team creating a ramp for such a cause, and said the work reflects the values of Bowman and his wife, Rose Bowman, who were both very active Twin Cities Rotarians. 

While the construction of the ramps used to happen about two or three times per year, he said, the program has grown immensely. He would encourage anyone to donate to the Twin Cities Rotary Foundation if they are interested in helping. Volunteers are also very valuable and before a project, the team will call on as many as they can gather.

“One hundred percent goes to the project,” Ervin said. “That’s one thing I love about Rotary. We finance our own stuff — that’s how it’s become several million members worldwide.”