Little Heroes 'ramps' up efforts to make life easier for local family

Little Heroes 'ramps' up efforts to make life easier for local family

NORTH PROVIDENCE - On April 28, representatives from The Little Heroes Fund of North Providence descended on the home of "a very deserving local family" and built them a sparkling new wheelchair ramp.

The Stone family of North Providence is active in the community, dedicating time and effort with local schools, Little League baseball and other charities, according to Erik Deneault, founder of the Little Heroes Fund and a North Providence resident.

Sgt. Dennis Stone, of the North Providence Police Department, and his wife Sherry have five children. Their oldest, Branden, 14, has special needs that have kept him in a wheelchair and require care around the clock.

Branden "is a happy and amazing kid," said Deneault. When the Ricci Middle School student would get home from the bus, his mother would wheel him into the house using a ramp they had built more 10 years ago when Branden was only four.

The old ramp was steep and had a sharp 90-degree turn into the house, posing a number of challenges as Branden got bigger and heavier.

The new ramp, installed by volunteers from Little Heroes, offers a more gradual incline and easier transition into the house.

Little Heroes partnered with Lowe's of North Providence and J&S Scrap Metal of Johnston to provide the ramp free of charge to the Stone family. Volunteers included Joe Faioli, Daryl Deneault, John Clukey and colleagues from the North Providence Police Department.

The Little Heroes Fund is a local nonprofit organization founded by Dawn and Erik Deneault. It was inspired by their daughter Danica, who was born with a rare illness called Aicardi Syndrome. Like every other family of a special needs child, the Deneaults say they were thrown in to the world of special needs without many places to turn to and without an idea of where to start.

The Deneaults founded Little Heroes to provide resources to families seeking help and looking for resources for their child or children. The organization provides guidance and links to state, federal, and private organizations that are available to these families.

The second part of their effort is to provide physical therapy tools, toys, and, mobile devices to families in need or for those who are fighting or waiting for insurance companies to provide the needed resources.

The Little Heroes Fund has given out and collected numerous wheelchairs, walkers, standers, high-low chairs, lifts and the wheelchair ramp. The Deneaults are accepting good equipment, which they will clean up and make sure it is safe to redistribute back into the community.

The Little Heroes Fund will hold its 3rd annual motorcycle run on June 22, starting at 10 a.m. in front of Rhode Island Billiard in Centredale.

Visit or find the organization on Facebook at "Little Heroes Fund."