Nov 7, 2012 9:07 PM by Bill Folsom

Disability brings ability, access, and independence post Waldo

"We could really see it. It was horrible," said Maddie Olson. She was with her family, evacuated, and watching from a hotel room as the Waldo Canyon Fire overtook their neighborhood. Their home burned and like the hundreds of other victims the process of recovery is difficult. Only their situation is complicated because Maddie has Cerebral Palsy and is in a wheelchair.

After much consideration this family is breaking ground a short distance away in a new neighborhood. There are several reasons for relocating.
"One certainly was emotional," said Maddie's step-dad, Hank Scarangella. There are bad memories associated with the fire, but there is also positive reasoning that pushed them to leave a neighborhood they liked behind. A new home at a new location will give Maddie more accessibility and independence. To fit the blueprint the family's original lot would not work.

A neighbor referred them to a builder, with unique qualifications. "He has a disability too," said Maddie. Dave Hammer the owner of Hammer Homes is also in a wheelchair. When he gave Maddie a tour of a model home he says, "We just clicked immediately."

Hammer is already rebuilding a number of homes for Waldo Canyon Fire victims. His philosophy for all the homes he builds is openness and accessibility. This job he pushed hard to get. "She had never experienced what it's like to live in a barrier free home. So when I'm rattling things off to her and saying we can do this and we can do that she's getting excited," said Hammer.



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