Driver shortage puts seniors on waiting list

Local News

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) -For years, Curative Connections has provided $3 rides so seniors can get to the doctor or the store. But now the agency has been forced to put seniors on a waiting list because they so many drivers chose not to volunteer during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“COVID hit us hard,” Transportation Manager Tina Whetung tells Local 5 News. “We had 83 drivers before. Now only 25 returned. We’re only able to offer half of the rides we used to provide.”

Accountant turned volunteer driver Randy Last says he didn’t hesitate to continue volunteering.

“People are a little gun shy about doing this,” he explained. “But I feel safer in their vehicles than I do my own vehicle because it’s so sanitary and clean. We wipe down everything constantly.”

Volunteer drivers set their own hours. Full training is provided along with experienced drivers who will ride along during those first routes. Curative Connections has several different vehicles, so if someone is not comfortable driving the bus for patients in wheelchairs, a transit van for those who are able to walk is also an option.

For Last, volunteering to drive gets him outdoors and gives him something meaningful to do for the community.

“I feel for these people that they can’t get around any other way but that chair,” Last acknowledges. “And they really enjoy the ride. It’s the highlight of their day.”

Curative Connections can be reached at (920) 227-4273.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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