Bluebills often build ramps to help seniors or people with disabilities remain in their homes. —Photo by Rodney Harp

Bluebills seek volunteers in Clallam for building projects

SEQUIM — Olympic Peninsula Bluebills is looking for a few good people in Clallam County to help seniors stay independent and distribute goods to nonprofits.

“I’d like to get four or five more reliable volunteers,” said Rodney Harp, Clallam County coordinator for the Olympic Bluebills.

The Olympic Peninsula chapter of the Boeing Bluebills provides services in both Clallam and Jefferson counties.

It has a larger volunteer base in Jefferson County than Clallam County, said Harp, adding he has seven now.

“I have some great volunteers, and I’m thankful for that, but we need more,” Harp said.

Men and women with some skills in crafts or building are welcome, but others are needed, too, Harp said.

Any volunteer, with or without building skills, is welcome, and it is not necessary to have retired from Boeing to work as a Bluebill.

Bluebills volunteers build wheelchair ramps, install grab bars and railings and make other minor house modifications to improve safety and help seniors and the disabled continue living in their homes.

They also pick up and deliver goods from World Vision, a Christian humanitarian organization based in Fife, that provides such items as food, clothing and school supplies to nonprofits that have registered for them.

The greatest need right now is for minor household improvements.

And that need is increasing, said Harp, who has worked with the Bluebills for four years.

“We’re getting more and more seniors in this area,” he said, “and it’s just my impression, but I think the income has decreased in a lot of households.”

Bluebills donate their labor and tools to household projects. They also ensure that modifications have the necessary county permit approval.

Materials are funded by clients or service agencies.

Most clients are referred to the Bluebills through medical agencies or organizations such as Catholic Community Services, while some contact the Bluebills directly, Harp said.

Bluebills in Clallam County build an average of two wheelchair ramps a month and pick up or distribute World Vision goods every three months.

Ramps take four to six hours to complete, while a grab bar is generally a two-hour job, Harp said.

Bluebills do other chores, too, he added. Recently, Harp helped a disabled veteran move some boxes.

The volunteer group is sponsored by Boeing, and originally the organization was made up entirely of Boeing retirees.

That is no longer true.

“I’m not a Boeing retiree,” Harp said. “I have only one volunteer that is a Boeing retiree.”

Those interested in volunteering are asked to contact Harp at 360-681-8750 or by email at harpalong@gmail.com.

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Managing Editor/News Leah Leach can be reached at 360-417-3531 or at leah.leach@peninsuladailynews.com.

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