When First Student employee Ray Ross, a driver in Binghamton, N.Y., approached Joshua Delvalle’s bus stop, he thought it would be a normal day. He got out of the bus that February morning to open the wheelchair lift, but moments later he heard a scream coming from behind him. It was Joshua’s sister.
Ray turned to see Joshua on the ground. He had fallen off his narrow homemade wheelchair ramp, and his electric wheelchair was on top of him. Ray rushed over to make sure he was ok, picked him up and carried him into his house.
Ray and bus monitor Billie-Jo Smith finished their route and began making plans with Location Manager Kelley VanDoorn to fix Joshua’s ramp. That Saturday, with the help of other First Student employees Joe Ingraham and RaeAnnette Orton and her husband Shawn Orton Sr., and her children Patrick Swift and Shawn Orton Jr., they headed out to build a new ramp.
After about four hours of work, the new wheelchair ramp was finished. “Joshua rode up and down the new ramp, and the smile on his face was so big, it brought tears to our eyes,” said Ray.
“The ramp was so wide and long that Joshua could go half way down the ramp and turn around and go back in the house. When I arrived at Joshua’s bus stop Monday morning, his mom met me at the stop. She was very grateful, and thankful for the ramp. She said ‘Joshua is more independent now that he can go up and down the ramp by himself.’ She then said ‘Thank you’ once again,” said Ray.