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Drivers Needed to Help Give Elderly People Freedom

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Overland Park, Kan. -- When elderly folks hang up their car keys for good, some can feel trapped and isolated. But there are some services in the metro that offer driver services to help elderly people stay active. One of the services is called JET Express, run through Jewish Family Services. The rides are incredibly low cost, only $5 for a round trip. But in order to meet the very high demand, they need more volunteers willing to get behind the wheel.

John Slayman is 95-years-old, and says if it wasn't for JET Express, he couldn't get to his volunteer job at St Joseph Hospital, where he works at the flower desk.

"It's a rewarding experience to help so many people," he says.

Betty Villaume is also 95 and says she enjoys volunteering at the hospital because it gets her out of the house.

"It gives me contact with different people," she says, "and I know that I'm helping."

And in order to get them to their volunteer job, volunteer driver Marlene Redhair picks them up. Redhair has been a volunteer driver for JET Express for two years, she says since her own mother can't drive now, she knows this service is important.

"Once you can't drive it's very difficult," she says.

Evelyn Slayman is 93-years-old, and says when she could no longer driver, she stressed out about how she would get to her volunteer job at the hospital. She says she's been volunteering there fro 13 years and didn't want to give it up. She was glad to find JET Express.

"They've been a steady, wonderful, dependable source of transportation," she says.

However, demand for rides far exceeds the volunteer drivers right now. JET Express says they've even had to cancel rides for folks because they just don't have enough volunteers. Redhair says it has been a valuable experience for her.

"The people are very sweet and they appreciate it a whole lot," she says. "Whether you take them to volunteer or a medical appointment also hair appointments and things like that."

If the high cost of gas worries you about being a volunteer driver, JET Express does partially reimburse drivers to help ease costs.

To learn more about becoming a volunteer driver for JET Express click here.

If you're interested in finding out more about JET Express. or becoming a rider, click here.

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