Disabled boy gifted shelter to keep him dry while waiting for school bus

‘This project brought out community together a bit, it showed that there is still so much good in this world and town,’ Ryder Killam’s dad Tim says

Bevan Hurley
Friday 24 December 2021 21:33 GMT
Ryder Killam
Ryder Killam (Facebook/Tim Killam)

Teenagers in Rhode Island built a bus shelter for a disabled five-year-old boy after his father appealed for help to stop him getting wet while waiting for the school bus.

Ryder Killam, who was born with spina bifida myelomeningocele, often waited 15 minutes for the bus in the wet and cold outside his family home in Bradford.

His father Tim would set up a patio umbrella for him while he waited, but it didn’t offer much protection from the wintery New England weather.

“The problem is, with the wind and fall weather here in New England, it really didn’t accomplish much unless it was just a rainy day with no wind, otherwise he still would get wet and not stay warm,” Mr Killam said in an interview with Good News Network.

Mr Killam went on Facebook to ask if anyone in the community had a spare shelter.

“I placed a post on Facebook looking to see if one of my friends or one of their connections might have an old bus hut,” he added.

One of his friends saw the post and suggested getting in touch with Dan McKena, who teaches construction technology teacher at Westerly High School.

Mr Killam said he quickly got a response back to say the class would “absolutely” design and build a shelter for his son.

Students across three classes worked on the project, using $300 worth of donated material from Home Depot and $600 put in by the Killams.

They put in wheelchair access and even placed a personalised sign at the top of the five by eight foot shelter: “Ryder’s bus stop”.

Ryder’s condition, caused when an embryo’s spinal cord doesn’t develop in the womb, meant he was never able to walk and used a wheelchair since he was two.

The shelter took six weeks to build and was finished in early November.

Mr Killam said the family were overjoyed at the shelter.

“Ryder’s first reaction was, ‘Holy Cow’. He loved it and wants to hang out it in all the time,” adding he plays in it like a fort.

Mr Killam said Ryder’s nurses use the shelter when they come to treat him.

“This project brought out community together a bit, it showed that there is still so much good in this world and town,” he said.

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