Kind Students Built Bus Stop Shelter To Protect 5-Yr-Old Boy In Wheelchair From The Rain And Wind

A kind group of high school students built a bus stop shelter to help keep a 5-year-old boy in a wheelchair from getting wet when it rains.

For 5-year-old Ryder Killam, taking the bus to school is more work than it is for most. Ryder was born with a spinal condition and has never been able to walk, so he relies on his wheelchair to get around each day.

“With Ryder being in a wheelchair, unfortunately, it’s about 75 feet from our house to the bus. He’s not the typical child that [moves quickly] when the bus comes,” Ryder’s dad, Tim, said.

As it takes some time for Ryder to enter the school bus, his parents make sure that he is always at the bus stop a little early so that the bus is on time and able to get the other children to school on time. But waiting for the bus in a wheelchair is difficult in the wind and rain, as an umbrella is unable to cover Ryder’s whole body and his wheelchair, which often get wet if the weather isn’t good. Then on days when it rains, poor little Ryder would have to sit in a wet wheelchair with wet clothes for the rest of the day.

Ryder’s parents installed a table umbrella where the school bus usually picks Ryder up to help keep him dry, but the wind would usually cause the rain to still get Ryder wet.

“The problem is with the wind and fall weather here in New England [the umbrella] 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.”

Photo credit: Tim Killam

Tim had seen portable “bus huts” and thought that someone in town might have an old or extra one that they might be willing to share with Ryder, so he made a post on Facebook looking for one.

“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 said. “I see them here and there on people’s property and figured maybe someone had one and had grown children that might not need it anymore.”

One kind heart recommended that he reach out to the local high school’s construction class and see if they would be interested in helping Ryder.

“After the post, a WPS member suggested I reach out to the construction class at Westerly High and see if they would want to take on the project of building Ryder a bus stop hut.”

A guidance counselor at Westerly High connected Tim with Dan McKena, who had been teaching construction technology at the school for more than 20 years. He emailed Dan and asked if he would be interested in this kind of project.

“He responded with an ‘absolutely’ and then he worked with his students to design and build the hut,” he said.

Photo credit: WDIV

“We’ve done other projects before,” Dan said. “I think it’s very important for my students to learn not only the aspects of construction, but of being involved in the community, dealing with people outside of the school environment.”

One of the students, Mason Heald, instantly decided that he wanted to make building the bus shelter for Ryder his senior project, and the entire class went above and beyond with their time to make the best shelter that they could.

“They all worked together for a common goal and they really enjoyed knowing the end result and knowing where it’s going,” Dan said.

Photo credit: SWNS

Tim used around $600 for materials and their local hardware store donated roughly $300 worth of wood for Ryder. The students worked hard and completed the shelter in around one month. When Ryder and his dad saw the finished shelter, they were overjoyed.

Photo credit: WDIV

“We were shocked, it was much bigger than we expected and allows such great access for Ryder and an adult to be with him comfortably,” Tim said with deep appreciation. “Ryder’s first reaction was ‘Holy Cow!’, he loved it and wants to hang out it in all the time.”

Photo credit: WDIV

“He loves it, he actually, after school, makes us stay out here and hang out now, it’s his new fort when he gets home.”

As news spread of “Ryder’s bus stop”, kind hearts from the community reached out to help donate items for Ryder, help with transportation and someone sent them a heated blanket for when it gets cold.

“The community, they’re incredible, they’ve come forward a couple of times for Ryder. It’s unreal how everyone comes together to make things work for everybody,” Ryder’s dad said.

Ryder sees the Bus shelter as his new fort, and he spends time in it even when he’s not waiting for the bus.

“Ryder uses it every day before school and his nurses wait inside it every day while they await his return home. He does like to go hang out in it from time to time as his fort as well.”

Photo credit: WDIV

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

It’s so lovely to see such a beautiful child being so well taken care of.

You are Loved.

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