Serving by steering

Debbie Sosland-Edelman, a volunteer driver with JET Express, and rider Ruth Johnson (Courtesy of the Mid-America Regional Council)

As a volunteer driver, Bob Bates has the opportunity to provide car rides for those who can't drive themselves. A veteran of the airline industry for 30 years, Bates now serves as a driver for Jewish Elder Transportation (JET) Express, a volunteer driver program and a service for adults offered by Jewish Family Services of Greater Kansas City. JET Express uses volunteers to provide door-to-door transportation for adults ages 65 or older, regardless of religious affiliation. (According to Bates, JET Express drivers can be of any religious denomination as well.)

Bates drives three to four times each week and estimates that he averages about 150 miles per week. JET Express' computerized program allows him to go online and choose requested rides.

Bates has established routines with some of his passengers, including a woman in her 80s whom he takes to two of her three weekly dialysis appointments. "She goes at five in the morning, so it's not one that everybody wants to pick up."

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