North Providence firefighters build ramp for man confined to wheelchair

NORTH PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A handicapped man received a new lease on life, thanks to a group of local firefighters who built a wheelchair-accessible ramp at his house.

Eyewitness News saw the story on social media earlier this week, when Jeff Jarry posted a picture of the ramp in his backyard. He said North Providence firefighters had come and put it together — without him even asking.

Jarry has multiple sclerosis and needs a wheelchair to get around. He said he was diagnosed at 30 years old and used to be a former athlete.

“The first couple years wasn’t bad. I had my own computer company,” he said. “But it [the disease] just kicked in and the little things started going away, like walking.”

Jarry was able to reconnect with his fiancée, Kristen Mitchell, on Facebook in 2009 — 21 years after they graduated high school together.

“Life is difficult,” Kristen said. “We argue we have our moments, but we laugh most of the time and that’s what it’s all about.”

Kristen works in Waltham, Massachusetts and can’t always be by Jarry’s side to take care of him. That’s where the North Providence firefighters stepped in to help.

For the past two years, Jarry only left his home when it was necessary. The couple was recently gifted a ramp so Jarry could leave the house more often.

The only problem was that the two needed help putting it together.

“They had it. We have the ability, these gentlemen here are masters at what they do, and within an hour we had it up,” Captain Henry Cullen of the North Providence Fire Department said.

In an hour and a Youtube video, the ramp was installed Monday morning.

Kristen was able to watch the video captured by an outdoor camera.

On Wednesday night, the firefighters got to see the impact that hour of installation made.

“We talked to the guys about how he will have the freedom to do more stuff and work on his rehabilitation, so this is more than we could ever imagine,” Cullen said.

As for Jarry, this is a new chance to fully live his life.

He says it’s also a reminder of the good that exists in the world.

“You see so much bad stuff on the news, and when something like that happens it’s like I didn’t think that existed anymore,” Jarry said. “But you realize it does, it’s like woah… that was a really cool thing.”