Eagle Scout hopeful builds wheelchair ramp for church

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published June 17, 2015

 This wooden ramp, attached to Christ Lutheran Church in Warren, was replaced with an aluminum ramp.

This wooden ramp, attached to Christ Lutheran Church in Warren, was replaced with an aluminum ramp.

Photo provided by Susan Heydel


Scouts are known for navigating trails, and a local aspiring Eagle Scout recently organized a campaign to put together an aluminum path for people in wheelchairs to more easily access a local church.

Boy Scout Bradley Heydel, 17, of Sterling Heights, and his fellow Scouts recently installed a modern wheelchair ramp at Christ Lutheran Church in Warren. The new ramp replaces an old wooden one that had been deemed too small and shabby.

An Eagle Scout service project is a prerequisite step toward being honored as an Eagle Scout, which is Boy Scouting’s highest rank.

Heydel, a recent graduate of Sterling Heights High School, said becoming an Eagle Scout means quite a bit to him, adding that some of his friends have earned the rank.

“It looks great on résumés and stuff like that,” he said. “A lot of the people that walked on the moon have done it.”

To fund the service project, Heydel had to first raise more than $2,000. He said he accomplished that goal by organizing a couple of bottle drives and fundraisers involving pasta and bowling.

To replace the existing wooden entrance ramp, Heydel ordered the aluminum ramp setup pre-fabricated from a company. Then he and his friends, fellow Boy Scouts and parents worked together to install the ramp May 2. The ramp was then tested to make sure that people in wheelchairs could use it.

Heydel said the project taught him leadership skills and gave him experience.

“I never really led something of this scale before, and it basically taught me how to delegate and also how to … show people how to do it, (rather) than just do it myself,” he said.

The Rev. Daniel Cave, pastor of Christ Lutheran Church, said Heydel and his mother and grandfather are church members.

Cave expressed his gratitude for the project and said the old wooden ramp, which he called short and inadequate, had been there for about seven years. He praised the new aluminum setup for making the church more handicapped-accessible, adding that it attaches to what is often used as an exit door to the church’s fellowship hall.

“It was important to us that we not have any barrier for those who may have to come and go out of that door in case of an emergency,” he said.

Find out more about Christ Lutheran Church in Warren by visiting www.christlutheranchurchwarren.org or by calling (586) 293-0700.