In its first few months, the new MyRide program has proven to be a blessing to many senior citizens.
For a nominal fee, they get much-needed rides to places like the pharmacy, doctor’s office, or grocery store.
There just one problem: MyRide Greeneville needs more volunteer drivers.
“It takes very little of your time, and you get to pick what fits your schedule,” said Chuck Whitfield, one of the first volunteers to start driving for MyRide Greeneville.
Whitfield, who retired from hospital administration three years ago, said “It’s very rewarding” to volunteer for MyRide.
“Everybody I’ve met has been so nice and courteous, and they’ve all been so appreciative,” he said.
Whitfield provides one or two rides a week following a schedule that is “very flexible.”
“That’s the beauty of the program,” he said, explaining that he does yard work in the afternoons and can volunteer to drive in the mornings while dew is on the ground.
He recalled a recent passenger telling him that MyRide is the best program Greeneville has ever started.
“It’s fun to meet new people, hear their stories, and know you’re helping them out,” Whitfield said.
One of those people is Willia Welch, who uses MyRide about twice a month and describes the program as “a great help.”
She gets rides to the grocery store, Walmart, the doctor’s office, and the bank for the annual fee of $25, plus $5 a ride.
“It’s worth it, because they take you to your appointment, they wait for you, and you can come right back home. You don’t have to wait,” she said.
Welch echoed Whitfield’s sentiment about meeting nice people in the program. “All the people who drive are real nice,” she said. “I love talking to them.”
MyRide Greeneville serves citizens ages 60 and older within a 10-mile radius of the Roby Fitzgerald Adult Center, 203 N. College St., where the program is stationed.
The program is available to seniors who do not drive, who have driving limitations, and who walk independently or with assistance of a cane or walker.
Volunteer drivers safely provide door-through-door transportation to appointments that relate to medical, financial, social, recreational, and life necessities.
Benefits of being a MyRide driver include flexible time commitment of as little as three hours per month, additional auto, medical, and liability insurance during volunteer trips, credit for programs that require volunteer hours such as TN Promise, and recognition and appreciation for making a difference by helping members of the community.
Other incentives include AAA classic membership to qualified volunteer drivers, GPS navigation units loaned out to those who request them, and a quarterly nominal mileage reimbursement to those who request it.
Drivers are well-screened and trained, age 21 or older, and use their personal vehicles to provide the service. A limited supply of $10 vouchers are available for those who volunteer.
MyRide Greeneville is one of 30 programs being developed across Tennessee as part of the Senior Volunteer Transportation Network. It is funded through state grant funds and with the support of the First Tennessee Area Agency on Aging and Disability.
Hours of operation are Monday through Thursday 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and Friday 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
To volunteer for MyRide Greeneville, please contact Program Coordinator Geanne McKechnie at 423-588-1028.
More information can be found at https://www.facebook.com/MyRideGreeneville.