Patricia Dukes -- Habitat for Humanity Int'l 1

Patricia Dukes

‘I don’t have to worry anymore’

Patricia Dukes has lived in her St. Paul home for just over a year. She loves the quiet neighborhood and having space to play host to members of her large family. She says she needs only one more thing to create an ideal living situation: a wheelchair ramp.

A new wheelchair ramp at Patricia Dukes’ St. Paul home will go a long way toward helping her host family get-togethers.

Since undergoing back surgery nearly a decade ago, Dukes experiences pain while walking. Though she is able to move around her home, she needs a wheelchair to navigate sidewalks and the bus system.

“Once we got the wheelchair in the house, we couldn’t get it out,” she said with a laugh. “That’s why I asked for a ramp.”

With help from A Brush with Kindness and a wheelchair ramp, Dukes will regain her freedom.

“Without a car, you can at least get in the chair and go,” she said. “I can get on the bus. I don’t have to worry anymore about falling down or hurting myself.”

As a mother of five, grandmother to 16, and great-grandmother to nine, Dukes is a pillar for her family. She moved to St. Paul to help her daughter and grandson when they relocated from Kansas City, her hometown.

When she moved, living in a small apartment made it difficult to host her family. “When you’re in a one-room apartment with 16 grandkids, it’s not very comfortable.”

Dukes laughs at how her family has made the new house a home: “They come and bug me all the time. They always want to see what’s cooking on the stove.”

With a newly installed ramp, she will be more comfortable in her home than ever. She looks forward to living independently in her neighborhood for a long time to come. “Till death do us part,” she said with a smile.