After much delay, father completes wheelchair ramp for daughters

Kay Hasegawa
Kay Hasegawa
Mabel MacLaren
Mabel MacLaren

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

KAIMUKI (KHNL) - After a battle with the city, a Kaimuki man with two daughters in wheelchairs finishes building a ramp at his home.

It took about six months for Robert Jahier to get a building permit for his project. Then, a daughter's health problems and demands from work caused further delays.

We first told you about the family's struggle more than a year ago. Etalynia Jahier relied on a flimsy ramp to get into her home.

"I do feel for them," Mabel MacLaren, neighbor, said. "And that's the only way they get in and out. Otherwise, how would they?"

After battling with the city over building code requirements, the family won approval to put up a permanent structure. There's a solid wooden walkway in its place today.

"Yeah, I was happy for them," Kay Hasegawa, neighbor, said. "Very happy."

Etalynia and her sister, Renisha, have motor, visual and speech impairments due to a genetic disorder. Hasegawa, a retired nurse, would see them struggle every day.

"To families who take care, you know, girls like that, you have to give them credit," she said. "They're doing a very good job taking care of them."

The girls' father says the city rejected the original walkway he built, forcing him to tear down his labor of love.

Neighbors we spoke with say they're happy the two sides were able to reach an agreement.

"They're very compassionate people," Hasegawa said. "And I think they really deserve help."

MacLaren says the new structure blocks her view of the street, but she doesn't mind.

"It doesn't matter to me. I mean, I can always sit someplace else," she said. "It's such a minor thing compared to their problem."

Robert Jahier says he just hopes other families with disabled loved ones won't have to go through what he did.