Carpenter helps after girl's wheelchair ramp is stolen
When David Lohr heard someone had stolen a Mastic home's portable wheelchair ramp -- one used daily by a disabled 5-year-old girl -- he did more than shake his head.
The Ronkonkoma carpenter and his son went to the Carleton Avenue house loaded with spare wood and spent 90 minutes Thursday making a temporary replacement ramp for Evelynn Biondo.
"Some people are really bad, so we had to make something good come of this," Lohr, 52, said after he and his son, Corey, 19, finished the job.
A permanent metal ramp -- also donated -- will soon follow. A Plainview medical supply company, C&C Home Care, will send a representative to the home Friday.
"We're going to go and measure, and we'll make sure that whatever is provided is appropriate and safe," company president Joe McGovern said. "We'll order it immediately and we're happy to say no charge."
Evelynn's appreciative mother, Alicia Biondo, 22, wondered Thursday how a thief could stoop so low.
"I can't believe anybody could do that to anybody, whether it's me or somebody else," she said.
Evelynn has been severely disabled since she was a baby.
She was 3 months old in 2007 when her 20-year-old father, annoyed by her cries, knocked her out of bed, kicked her and shook her violently. Joshua Cohen is serving a 16-year prison term for the assault.
Biondo, who wasn't home at the time of the attack, said her daughter has required more care as she has grown physically. Mentally, she remains an infant. She can't talk or walk without assistance.
"She's not a small baby anymore," Biondo said. "She's a big girl and the only way she gets around is in my arms or a wheelchair."
She noticed the portable ramp was missing Wednesday morning, and initially thought her mother had moved it. Since then, a bus driver who takes Evelynn to a day program has helped Biondo carry the wheelchair in and out of the house.
Lohr learned of the theft from a report on News 12 Long Island. He said he called Biondo Thursday morning to offer his services, then sprang into action. His son, a student at Suffolk County Community College and a Ronkonkoma Fire Department volunteer, came along to help.
"As bad as the person is who stole this, it's incredible to see the community step forward," Policastro said. "You know, I've never heard of anybody taking a ramp before. We've had wheelchairs stolen, but never a ramp."
Biondo estimated that a new ramp would have cost $700 -- making for a lean Christmas.
"It's the holiday season and that's not exactly pocket change," she said. "It would have been very difficult."