Joseph Pentecost’s eyes lit up as a driver from the Red Cross’ Senior Transportation Program he had not seen in months showed up to his door to take him to a routine doctor’s checkup. Conversation and laughter began to flow between the two like no time had passed.
The American Red Cross Senior Transportation Program has been in effect for more than 70 years, serving hundreds of people in the Wichita area annually. The program transports patrons of 60 years or older to their medical appointments that they would have otherwise not been able to attend.
Joseph, who has been riding with the Red Cross for 3 years, said that losing the ability to drive due to his maculate degeneration took away a portion of his freedom. Possibly one of the most important aspects about this program is that it gives senior citizens who cannot drive some of their independence back.
Joseph is a 69 year old resident of Wichita who lives with his two dogs. He added that he has benefitted tremendously from the transportation program. He prefers not to take the busses due to his vision problems, so the Red Cross rides are a perfect fit with Mr. Pentecost.
“The Red Cross Medical Transportation people and the people back in the office are some of the best people I’ve met; I have had some of the best conversations with them,” said Joseph. “I can’t say anything negative about this program.”
Joseph is only one of many to benefit. Last year, this program drove 189,431 miles throughout Sedgwick County, serving 579 seniors with a free door-to-door trip to their medical appointment. These include trips that are most commonly dialysis, doctors’ appointments, and chemotherapy.
Joseph added that he did not know where he would be without this program.
“This program has done a tremendous job,” he concluded.
The Midway-Kansas Senior Medical Transportation Program simply would not exist without our volunteer drivers. They’re not just drivers, however. For some seniors, they are a familiar face and someone they can talk to.
If you or someone you know might be interested in becoming a volunteer driver for this program, give us a call at 316.219.4000 or email Mariah at Mariah Mazerski at firstname.lastname@example.org.