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Saluting Jerry Otis

PSARA member Jerry Otis says his mother taught him not to use four-letter words.

“So I decided ‘can’t’ is a four-letter word, and I wasn’t gonna use it.”

A retired union carpenter with a disability incurred 26 years ago, Jerry Otis is a man with a mission. Working with the Puget Sound Labor Agency, Jerry has dedicated his life to building the ramps that give low-income house-bound people freedom of access to the outer world.

“If people can’t get out of their homes, that’s not a life,” Jerry says.

Years ago, Jerry co-founded the Regional Access Mobility Program (RAMP) so that he and other volunteers could build ramps and other means of access for the elderly and persons with disabilities. Local labor councils and individual unions help Jerry get in touch with house-bound people.

The rogram enables eole to live in heir own homes and still articiate in the community, Jerry says.

“After the installation of a ram, one client was able for the first time to go to the neighborhood grocery store and coffee sho.”

Jerry’s still at it, and his vocabulary still doesn’t include the word the word “can’t.”

To find out about building a ramp for someone, or to contribute work or funds – or just to say, “Thank you, Jerry!” – you can reach him at jerry12102@aol.com or through the Puget Sound Labor Agency at 206-448-9277.

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