Ever pass a Botetourt County van full of folks on a week day and wonder what’s the scoop? A terrific mother and daughter team, Hazel Dooley and Kay Jackson operate the Senior Van Service for Botetourt County. Dooley drives the regular van and Jackson drives the American Disabilities Act (ADA) approved van for clients in wheel chairs.
Dooley started the program, but it is sponsored by Botetourt County, in 1975. Over the years she has serviced thousands of clients. Jackson joined her mother 9 years ago. The program is overseen by Botetourt Parks and Recreation.
The requirements to use the service? The client must be a citizen of Botetourt County and be over the age of 55.
“Many of our clients don’t drive any more,” said Dooley, ” So they call us up. The fee for a regular trip is $5 as of May 1, and for the ADA van it is $10. Each lady has a date book full of appointments with clients which they pick up at the door. The van service goes to the following places and environs: Eagle Rock (and yes they will go to Oriskany from there,) Buchanan, Blue Ridge, Cloverdale and Fincastle.
Where do these clients go? Number one destination is a doctor appointment but others include the grocery store, the bank, to pick up a prescription, hair appontments, and another requested destination– lunch with the other users of the van service! Rec Department employee Mary Ellen Barger, ” You wont find two more dedicated and helpful people.” The socialization aspect of the service is almost as important as getting to the appointments noted Jackson. Lunch out while on an appointment may be the client’s only time to get away from the house with other folks so it is a great deal of fun for everyone.
They also have day trips that last no more than 10 hours per day as that falls within the hours 6 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. the pair are on the road Monday through Friday. They go places like the cheese shop in Staunton on a day trip which costs $10 per person and the 6 a.m. time is usually for some one having out patient surgery.
They coordinate the trips as much as possible by area of the County, so the two ladies encourage folks to call ahead a few days to get on the schedule except for doctor appointments which they need two weeks notice if possible to coordinate. The numbers are for the regular van, Hazel Dooley 366-0700 or 309-3633. For the wheel chair accessible van, Kay Jackson 312-5121.
Angie Crawford also of the Rec Department said, “They are easy to work with and bubbly with their clients.”