Medical students spend holiday building ramp for Roanoke family in need

Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine students participate in Day of Service

By Jessica Jewell - Weekend Anchor / Reporter

ROANOKE, Va. - People across the country are honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Monday through service, including students from the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine.

"It’s our day off, so it's a chance for us to come out and be in the community and kind of help out wherever needed," second-year medical student Meyha Swaroop said.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day has become a nationwide day of service. For future doctors in the Star City, that comes in the form of sawing, drilling and plenty of other handiwork at Renovation Alliance in Roanoke.

"We are a very small staff, so we really rely on volunteer labor to help us fulfill our mission," Renovation Alliance Executive Director Ellie Rigby said.

"Being in a profession of medicine, we are here to serve our communities. I think the best way we can do that is by getting to understand our communities and some of the challenges that they face," Swaroop said.

Bone-chilling temperatures drove the group of medical students, professors and their family members inside, sprucing up the nonprofit's office and building a ramp for a northwest Roanoke mother and daughter in need.

"The mother is 91 years old and her daughter is in her mid-70s and they both have mobility issues, so the work that these students and their families are doing today is going to enable those women to be able to safely enter and exit their home. It's going to make a huge difference for them," Rigby said.

"Martin Luther King Jr. and his whole spirit of kind of serving others and being there in solidarity with other people, this is kind of our way of doing that for Roanoke," Swaroop said.

The Renovation Alliance is always looking for volunteers. Click here to find out how you can volunteer.

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