Mayor helps couple replace stolen ramps
Scrap yards were notified about the metal ramps stolen from the triple amputee.
By TIM YOVICH
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
WARREN -- Mayor Michael J. O'Brien got help for an older West Side couple with limited income after thieves took the wheelchair ramps from in front of their home.
"I'm ecstatic," Helen Tsilimos, a triple amputee, said Tuesday afternoon after hearing from the mayor's office that he'd see to getting them a replacement. "I can't believe it."
She was directed to city hall by The Vindicator after the newspaper checked the morning's city police reports.
The only clues to the theft, she explained, are tire tracks leading from the street up to their home, so the thieves could carry off the 8-foot-long ramps.
O'Brien said he bought new metal ramps from Franklin Health Care on East Market Street for 150. They are portable and go across three steps.
The mayor said the couple doesn't qualify for community development funds, so he decided to pay for them out of his pocket.
"The important thing is to make sure she has the ramp," O'Brien said.
The mayor said he will attempt this summer to have a permanent ramp built for the couple.
Tsilimos, 63, initially was uncertain of what would happen after the metal ramps were stolen from the couple's Southern Boulevard Northwest home.
Her husband, John, 67, noticed the ramps were missing as he drove his car out of the driveway on his way to the drugstore Monday afternoon.
Tsilimos has been a triple amputee for nine years, having lost her legs and an arm to illness.
The couple had bought the two portable metal ramps for 650, and they could be easily removed from the porch.
She said when her husband told her the ramps had been stolen, she called a few scrap yards so they could be on the lookout for them and perhaps have them returned.
She also checked with a medical supply company who told her new ramps would cost at least 500.
The couple lives on a modest monthly pension after their insurance premium is paid. "I don't think we have 300 to our name," she said.
"For someone to steal this is outrageous," O'Brien said. "That's the most despicable thing you can think of doing."
Asked if the thief will ever be caught, O'Brien responded, "You never know."