Car Talk: Rides Foster Interesting Conversation

Volunteer Transportation services helps Mary stay as active as she wants to be in the community.

Mary is 86. Her life has been a flurry of activity, even during difficult circumstances. She was the first African American clerk in the King County courts and broke down many racial barriers throughout her career. She recently accumulated more activity points than anyone else in her assisted living community for her unfaltering participation in a long list of games and classes. Mary is never on the sidelines—whether recreationally, politically, or professionally.

Joe is 95. He was on the bridge of the Case-DD370, a destroyer ship, when the bombs began to fall on Pearl Harbor in 1941. He recounts his experiences from this history-changing attack as if they were yesterday, and he shares other stories from his youth, years in the Navy, and adulthood with equally rich narration. As he describes a bombardment while stationed on Attu in the Aleutian Islands, the suspense is palpable.

Joe recounts his life experiences and makes life richer for his Volunteer Transportation driver.

Marie is 85. Literature is her passion. She has three published books, but she has been writing stories ever since she learned how to use a pencil and paper. She has held many different jobs over the years, but her favorite was when she was an elementary school librarian. She knew every book in the school and could make recommendations for children of all ages. Her love for words runs deep.

Mary, Joe, and Marie are clients of the Volunteer Transportation program, and they talk about their diverse experiences, perspectives, and passions with the volunteer drivers who take them to their doctors' appointments. A ride provided by Volunteer Transportation is a natural setting for conversation to take place, and stories abound.

A published author, Marie enjoys independence that Volunteer Transportation provides.

The program is also a needed resource for these seniors. Mary gave up her keys years ago; Joe lost many of his physical abilities when he was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome in 1968; and Marie developed macular degeneration soon after she turned 80. Volunteer Transportation empowers them to live healthy, independent lives.

All three are grateful for the program. Marie says, "I just can't praise Volunteer Transportation enough. The volunteers are such nice people. They are friendly, competent, and qualified. I've enjoyed meeting each and every one of them."

Drivers of the program feel equally fortunate to provide this valuable service. Each ride grants them a new opportunity to get another glimpse into a senior's life. Whether it's a mover and a shaker (like Mary), a veteran (like Joe), an author (like Marie), or someone with a completely different background, each person has a unique autobiography to share. After all, we are all experts in our own life histories.

New Volunteer Drivers Welcome!

If you enjoy meeting interesting people and have a clean driving record, Volunteer Transportation is the job for you!  Volunteer drivers are needed throughout King County, and many are seniors themselves. Use your own vehicle to drive seniors to medical appointments.

For more information, visit www.seniorservices.org/transportation or contact Hilary Case at hilaryc@seniorservices.org or 206-748-7588.

 

Contributor Hilary Case is a Recruitment & Outreach Coordinator for transportation programs at Senior Services, a comprehensive nonprofit agency serving older adults and their loved ones in Seattle and King County. Hilary invites you to discover why Volunteer Transportation is always more than just a ride—read Behind the Wheel, the Volunteer Transportation blog at www.volunteertransportation.blogspot.com.