Transportation Provides Life-Giving Accessibility
Jon, a 78-year-old Vietnam veteran, has had lifelong, worsening health problems as a result of being exposed to Agent Orange during his service. His health struggles started with diabetes, which, as he put it, “ruined” his kidneys. As a result, for years Jon has required life-saving kidney dialysis three days each week.
Initially, Jon was able to drive himself from Newark to Columbus for treatment, but then his diabetes progressed into neuropathy. He started to have seizures and tremors and began struggling to walk without falling down. For a time, Jon’s wife drove him to his appointments, though it wasn’t an easy feat because, as Jon put it, laughing, “She’s as old as I am.”
When Jon fell down and broke his ankle, becoming indefinitely wheelchair-bound, he and his wife knew they needed to find some help. This is where Catholic Social Services’ (CSS) Transportation Services program stepped in.
“It really makes a big difference,” says Jon about the program. While Jon has children in the area, it is not sustainable for any of them to commit to transporting him to Columbus three days every week. Furthermore, CSS’ vans are equipped to deal with Jon’s wheelchair. Jon says the drivers gladly help him into the van, even though, he added with amazement, “Some of them are as old as I am!” More than that, Jon says, “All the drivers are good guys,” and he doesn’t know what he and his family would do without them.
Jon and his family are just one example of how CSS’ Transportation Services helps seniors and veterans in Licking County age with grace and independence. Each year, we transport 400 people from Licking County to non-emergency medical appointments all over the state, and last year, CSS’ drivers traveled nearly 180,000 miles to ensure Licking County residents received necessary care. Many seniors and veterans, like Jon, would not be able to access life-giving treatments without CSS’ Transportation Services.