(As part of Bengals.com's high school journalism program, this story is written by a member of the journalism club at Cincinnati's Aiken New Tech High School headed by Lakisha Zyyon and Tyler Stowers. Photo is by student photographer Daymien Robinson.)
The Bengals recently collaborated with Operation Ramp It Up to help veteran James Angel have easier access to and from his Golf Manor house in Cincinnati.
Last month four players teamed with Operation Ramp It Up founder and CEO Gregory M Schneider to make a 30-foot ramp to help Angel rehabilitate a foot injury. Cornerback Allan George, long snapper Cal Adomitis, left guard Cordell Volson, and tight end Irv Smith Jr, as well as Ben-Gals Kelly and Valerie participated.
Schneider, a Cincinnati UPS driver who discovered a passion for helping veterans, continues to make ramps with the support of the Bengals, Kroger, and other local companies with the motto "freedom, independence, and accessibility."
"They are the core tenets of our mission," says Schneider, whose organization has reached all 50 states.
The players and other volunteers lugged recyclable metal and tools from a truck to the front yard and put together a ramp that can be used again.
Adomitis, a second-year player, is used to donating his time. He played college ball in his hometown at the University of Pittsburgh, where he created "Cal's Kids," to raise money for Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh.
"It's our day off, but this is something that is so important," Adomitis said. "Veterans have sacrificed so much."
Angel, 58, a field engineer for Duke Energy, is a Cincinnati native who graduated from Withrow High School before serving as a tank mechanic in the U.S. Army during the 1980s and later in the National Guard. He says this experience has influenced his decision to become active in the community.
"Just to have Ramp It Up come and say, 'I've got you,' is huge," Angel said. "You've got to give back."