Weber firefighters build ramp for elderly man

FARR WEST, Utah -- Weber Fire District fire fighters surprised an elderly Farr West man who needed their help by taking on a special project for him.

Lovel Layne just turned 92 years old on September 28, and anyone who visits him will find he loves to tell stories from his past.

On Wednesday afternoon, Layne sat on his porch, recounting a job decades ago where he made three dollars an hour. He also talked about his time serving in the U.S. Army, stationed in the Philippines.

He said he's proud of his kids, and talked up his grandchildren.

"You ought to hear her sing," Layne said, of one of his granddaughters. "Boy, she can sing!"

Lovel loves to garden and build bird houses. At his Farr West home, he's growing tomatoes and sunflowers. Bird houses and tools sit on a table on his porch. But lately, Layne's health hasn't allowed him to get around as well as he used to.

"I've gotten worse the last six months," he said.

Over the past several weeks, Lovel's fallen and had to have fire fighters come help him out.

Some of the same fire fighters responded each time.

One of the times, Lovel said he had just walked down his ramp from his porch to his yard, when he lost his balance.

Weber Fire District Station 61 Captain Jeremy Winn said he noticed the ramp was too narrow to fit Layne's walker or wheel chair, and the ramp was old and flimsy.

"I got thinking, what can we do to help this guy out?" Winn said. "We love coming and visiting with him, but we don't like to see him on the ground."

On Tuesday a group of fire fighters showed up, dismantled Layne's old ramp and built a new, wider ramp from the front of his porch -- the old ramp was around the back of the porch.

"Just something to help his family be able to get him in and out of house," said firefighter Lindsay Workman.

Workman said he owns a construction business, so he supplied the tools. Layne's family bought the lumber.

Life's now a little bit easier for Layne.

"They really helped me, you can't imagine what they've done for me," he said.

Workman said one of Layne's daughters was there and expressed her appreciation.

"His daughter came up and gave me a big hug," Workman said, getting emotional. "That was, that was worth it all right there."

Though their job is done, Capt. Winn said they'll still drop by to see Layne anytime he wants. The station is right next to his neighborhood. But now, they'll be able to visit with Layne on a happier note, and enjoy one of his many life stories.

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