Friday, January 31, 2014

In Memoriam

Tom Melchior: 12/31/1935 to 1/28/2014
On Wednesday of this week, we received the sad news that Tom Mechior had passed away.   Tom had served as a faithful and admirable volunteer driver of the Hyde Shuttles in Des Moines for over three years, although he had very recently given up this role as he prepared for a pending move to the Philippines to live in the new home that he and his wife, Mercy, had built.  It just wasn’t meant to be.

Brady Wright, Community Outreach Specialist for the Hyde Shuttles in Des Moines, wrote the following in an email about Tom, “Everyone who knew Tom is aware of how much he cared about our riders and everyone involved in the program, as well as how he was a genuinely warm human being and husband… Tom was a terrific man and a good friend.  He will be missed.” 

Sue Padden, Senior Services Manager for the City of Des Moines, commented on Tom’s wonderful singing voice, excellent dancing skills, gentleness, and huge heart.  She also fondly recalled his well-earned nickname of “Tex.”  She remarked, “‘Tex’ and I used to talk a lot about Texas-- its food and music.  I can see him now, under the ‘big sky,’ singing a Johnny Cash song with that beautiful smile on his face…..and that darn University of Texas Longhorn hat on his head!”

We are grateful for Tom/Tex’s years of compassionate service with the Hyde Shuttles, and we feel very fortunate that he was a part of our program.  He and his family are certainly on our minds and in our hearts.
Friday, January 17, 2014

The Gift of Health

It’s January—a month when strong commitments to New Year’s resolutions cause us to reevaluate our health habits and recommit to lifestyle changes.  Because overall wellbeing is such a pertinent topic at this time of year, this week’s post is dedicated to the subject of health.

Multiple studies have drawn an unmistakable correlation between the prevalence of medical conditions amongst people who have missed medical care due to transportation problems and those who face no transportation barriers.  People who lack transportation options are less likely to have a primary care physician to obtain regular care, go in for preventative care, or make it to follow-up appointments once they’ve become ill.  Incidence of medical conditions (such as arthritis, asthma, COPD , cancer, depression, dental problems, diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, hypertension, irritable bowel , medication allergies, pain or aching joints, poor circulation, recurring pain, severe sprains, skin problems, and vision problems) is significantly higher for adults who have difficulty finding ways to get to medical facilities. 

Furthermore, the pattern of co-morbidities (multiple, simultaneous conditions) is higher when people have transportation challenges.  Wallace, Hughes-Cromwick, Mull & Khasnabis add, “Transportation-disadvantaged status that results in missed trips will potentially exacerbate the diseases and may result in costly subsequent medical care (specialist visits, emergency room visits, and possibly hospitalizations).   Even when the potential to decrease subsequent utilization by more prompt care of an existing condition does not exist, quality-of-life concerns remain evident and important…” (p. 80).

Thus, the facts are clear: Our volunteer drivers help our clients become their happiest, healthiest selves!  As we focus on our own healthy living practices, let us not forget this important aspect of our work.

*Source: Link to article
Friday, January 10, 2014

Intergalactic Implications

This week’s post is an addendum to last week’s reflection.  Further numbers have been crunched, and we are ecstatic to announce that the total distance traveled through all of our programs in 2013 was an astounding 1,011,944.35 miles!!!!  That is more than two roundtrips to the moon.  Incredible!  This serves as yet another reminder that our drivers are out of this world!
Friday, January 3, 2014

More than a Numbers Game

Our annual statistics are in, and we are happy to report that 2013 was officially a big year for us!  The Volunteer Transportation program alone covered 415,189.63 miles.  That’s well over 16 trips around the world at its equatorial circumference.  Wow! 

This figure, however, does not capture the other non-quantifiable successes of Volunteer Transportation in 2013.  We can’t measure the increased peace of mind, acts of kindness, meaningful interactions, or spirits lifted due to the program.   We just rest assured that our volunteer drivers accumulated “miles of miles” of good deeds, and we are excited for an equally epic 2014!

About Me

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“Behind the Wheel” offers stories, reflections, news and updates about Sound Generations’ (formerly Senior Services') Transportation Program. Throughout King County, our inspiring volunteers provide needed mobility to local seniors, supporting them in their efforts to remain independent, healthy, and happy. Please drop by to read more about the unique experiences of our volunteers, clients and staff!
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