‘SWAT Team’ Builds Ramp for Michigan Family

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When a woman from Spring Lake, Mich., needed a ramp built for her child, a SWAT team came to the rescue.

Members of SWAT with Kristen and Taya.

SWAT (Servants With Appropriate Tools) is a group from Covenant Life Christian Reformed Church in Grand Haven, Mich.

Four-year-old Taya Cook was born with a birth defect that left her blind and unable to walk. Her mother, Kristen Cook, had to purchase a special stroller that serves as a sort of wheelchair.

“I live in a townhouse, and I was having problems getting her and her stroller down the steps every morning,” she said. “Somebody told me to call the Habitat for Humanity Restore, and by accident I called Habitat for Humanity.”

From Habitat to the American Legion to Home Depot, a series of referrals ended with the SWAT team of Covenant Life taking up the task.

“Each ramp we’ve built over the past 15 years comes with its own story,” said Ken Souter, SWAT team member. “They always begin with a need for a ramp and the lack of the funds or ability to build one. This is the first ramp we’ve built that has been funded by an area business.”

The SWAT team first formed when a church member heard of a situation where an older woman needed a ramp built. Now, 15 years and more than 100 ramps later, SWAT has over 50 volunteers from Covenant Life.

“The day the ramp was built, I got home and pulled onto my road and both sides of the street were filled with cars of volunteers. It’s just amazing,” said Cook. “It’s really changed my life. It’s made it easier physically, but it’s also so much more than just a ramp. This has been a wake-up call for me to realize just how blessed I am. It’s a miracle really, that’s what it is.”

About the Author

Daina Kraai is the Banner's regional news correspondent for classes Muskegon and Northern Michigan.

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