Heinz Kramp, who died on October 6, 2019, was a truly unique man. Through his positive energy, genuine kindness, and dedication to people with disabilities he inspired freedom and independence in the lives of so many.
Together with some families, he started the well-known Innisfree Village community near Crozet for adults with various mental and physical disabilities. During his time at Innisfree, Heinz learned to appreciate the distinctive needs of people with brain injuries. People who, prior to their trauma, often had professional backgrounds,were the head of a family, a spouse, mother, father, son, or daughter.
Heinz addressed these people’s immediate need for a surrogate family by founding Building a Bridge in 1991 in Charlottesville. The non-profit organization ran three homes with staff providing needed support while living with members 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The intimate atmosphere of a family-like life accounted for growth and hope in many people overcoming the unforeseen challenges of brain injuries.
In 2015, the organization merged its services with Virginia NeuroCare (VANC), who ran a pre-vocational training program for members to participate in meaningful and purposeful rehabilitative activities in a community environment.
The merger produced The BridgeLine, which now also provides case management to residents of Charlottesville and 10 surrounding counties in addition to the residential and pre-vocational programs the preceding organizations operated.
Having a caring community dedicated to serving adults with brain injuries who have had to adjust to a new normal is one of the amazing accomplishments of Heinz. We are deeply grateful for his work.