Assessing how best to build wheelchair ramps, planning their construction and maintaining an inventory of hundreds of tools keeps volunteer Steve Lyles busy at Rebuilding Hope.
Steve, a volunteer for more than seven years, visits homes to discuss applicants’ needs and take measurements and photographs before he draws the plans and acquires permits.
Every ramp is different, he says, because of the “lay of the land” and applicants’ varying needs. Steve plans about 20 ramps a year.
Hundreds of tools -- nail guns and hammers, saws, air compressors, wrenches and more -- are needed for RHI’s ministry. Steve’s tool inventory control responsibility is to maintain a supply in good working order, track who has borrowed which tools and order new items.
Steve began serving at RHI following an invitation from his next door neighbor, RHI founder and coordinator Randolph Wilson. Steve is in his second year on the RHI board of director and assists with various duties when Randolph is out of town.
The reward is “when you help someone who’s thanking you and you can say, ‘It is my pleasure.’ It’s a humble thing,” he says.
A special experience, he says, was with a couple who came to RHI asking for assistance. Before they left, he prayed with them. Unexpectedly, they returned, but this time just for prayer.
Serving his community, though, is nothing new to the retired law enforcement officer.
Steve retired in 2011 as chief investigator with the rank of lieutenant after 28 years with the Vance County Sheriff’s Office.
“I’ve always helped people in my line of work,” he says.
Steve says his interest in law enforcement began in his youth when he did ride-alongs with deputies. Eventually he took a law enforcement
training course and was invited to join the sheriff’s office.
Helping people has also included 15 years with the Bear Pond Volunteer Fire Department and 12 years with the Vance County Rescue Squad. He served as chairman of the board of both organizations.
Steve, a native of Washington, N.C., is a 16-year member of Raleigh Road Baptist Church, where he serves as deacon and a choir member.
In their leisure time, Steve and Paula, his wife of 30 years, enjoy camping in the North Carolina mountains.