Home Local News Hobbs ministry building access ramp for special-needs child

Hobbs ministry building access ramp for special-needs child

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Andy Brosig/News-Sun

Ruby Hamilton, 3, will be getting what her mother, Kristina, calls the best Christmas gift ever this year from a group started “deep in the desert of southern Lea County.”

Even before she was born, Ruby’s doctors knew she was in for a tough road. Diagnosed with Down Syndrome, Ruby was also born with a heart condition where the wall between the two chambers of her heart responsible for pumping blood through her tiny body hadn’t developed.

The condition led to Ruby’s first heart surgery at just 2 months old.

Today, with two more heart surgeries behind her — one at 5 months to rebuild the wall between the chambers of her heart — and related medical conditions going forward, Ruby has developed into an active 3-year-old weighing about 30 pounds.

Kristina said it’s a struggle to get Ruby and all the equipment she has up and down the rickety metal and wood steps that came with the manufactured home she recently purchased.

Kristina and Ruby had been living with Kristina’s parents, Krystal and Lonnie Bob Hamilton. But they were retired and, with all of Ruby’s medical equipment, it was just becoming too crowded. so Kristin decided it was time for a home of her own.

“We were taking up so much space in their house, I felt so bad,” Kristina said. “They’re retired, they deserve to relax now.

“But with the oxygen tank, bags, fighting the door and getting down the porch steps that are wobbly to begin with, it’s a struggle” in their new home, Kristina said. “It’s very difficult to get her and her equipment out the door and down the steps. The nurse almost fell off those steps recently.”

That’s where Donny Hill and Oilfield Ministry of Hobbs entered the picture. Hill said he was contacted by Laura Gowens, a caseworker with Meca Therapies, with a request — could Oilfield Ministries build a ramp for Ruby? Hill said he decided to pay a visit to the home and see what his group could do to help.

“We do a little bit of everything, whatever it takes to help people,” Hill said. “First thing, I saw Ruby at the door blowing me kisses — the answer was immediately yes. No questions asked.”

This is the first major project of its type Oilfield Ministry has undertaken, he said. Though most of its volunteers and members work in the oilfields, something of this magnitude is definitely in the groups wheelhouse, though.

“We have a skill set to do pretty much anything we need to do,” Hill said. “If we don’t have the skills we need for projects from within our group, we will go out and hire someone to help.”

And the work began. Hill’s primary concern right now is getting the correct design for the ramp so it’s not only safe and secure, but will be sufficient in the future should Ruby’s needs change. She doesn’t use a wheelchair now, Kristina said, but her doctors aren’t sure what the future holds.

“Ruby likes to do everything,” Kristina said. “She plays with all her toys, going from one end of the house to the other. And during the summer she likes to go outside. She’s going to grow up a country child.”

Oilfield Ministry hired an engineer to draw up plans for the ramp, but volunteers will provide the rest of the labor, Hill said. Oilfield Ministry will also pay for all the materials for the project, he said.

“All of the people who will be working for me on the project will be volunteers,” Hill said. “Oilfield Ministry is paying for the engineer and the materials. We’re happy to do so.”

Oilfield Ministry started about 30 years ago, when Hill was a site supervisor working with oilfield crews around Lea County. He would start each workday with a safety meeting and invite the crews to pray before they headed out, he said.

It carried on that way for years, hosting tent meetings where the group would host services and offer food, taking the word of God to the remote areas of Lea County where the crews were working, Hill said. Then earlier this year, something changed. Hill said God put a call on his heart.

“I felt the need to start ramping it up a little bit,” he said. “We have meetings every Monday where we plan our projects.

“We have to run it like a business,” Hill said. “But it’s a business that’s surrounded by love. Every member of the group, that’s the first word I hear — we have to show and express love. And we do that.”

Oilfield Ministry is still offering regular services, food and more to oilfield workers even as it ramps up its community service focus, he said. Around Thanksgiving, the ministry provided turkeys to residents in need, for example. And this past week, Hill and a crew were busy delivering donated bicycles to families around Hobbs and Lea County.

The Christmas bicycles project really opened Hill’s eyes to both the need in this area and the potential for Oilfield Ministry to make an impact.

“When we first announced we were going to give away bicycles for Christmas, I heard from so many people in pain,” Hill said. “They were hurting because they didn’t have money to buy a gift for their children. They couldn’t even afford to buy clothes.

“So we’re going to help where we can,” he said. “We can’t make everybody smile, but we can make Ruby smile. We can make Kristina smile.”

And that goal at least, Kristina said, has been accomplished. The ramp is a project she said she couldn’t have afforded on her own.

“I felt a huge relief when Oilfield Ministry said they’d build the ramp,” she said. “It was like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders.

“It was just pure amazement,” Kristina said. “I tell (Donny) every time he texts me, ‘You’re a Godsend.’”

Andy Brosig may be reached at reporter1@hobbsnews.com.

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