Volunteer Transportation Center receives donation of van from Clayton woman


Ms. Garnsey, second from left, is joined, from left, by Terra Thompson, Jefferson-Lewis Program Director; Jeremiah Papineau, Foundation Director and Kate Hodge, volunteer.

(WATERTOWN, N.Y.) – The Volunteer Transportation Center, Inc. (VTC) is proud to announce it has received the donation of a 2007 Ford Econoline van to aid in the transportation of individuals with disabilities.

Carol Garnsey of Clayton recently handed over the keys and title to the wheelchair-accessible vehicle to VTC staff as a donation in memory of Danette “Nette” Jones of Clayton. Nette passed away April 2 at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Syracuse. The van – owned by Carol for use in transporting Nette, she said – is now where Nette would want it.

“She would be overjoyed,” said Carol. “She cared for all the drivers she had. I know [the van] is where it belongs.”

Carol met Nette through the Music for Healing and Transition Program at Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse about four years ago. It was by chance the two would meet and become friends.

“Nette had to read 20 to 30 books and couldn’t read because she was almost blind,” Carol recalled. “She asked if anyone could read to her. I didn’t know her but I said I would. We became good friends.”

Through the program, Nette had to be able to play and sing for people in many cultural backgrounds, said Carol. She needed to be able to go to hospices, hospitals and other locations to share her gift but lacked a reliable mode of transportation.

“I knew she was going to need a van,” said Carol.

One evening, a woman Carol knew called her and informed her someone had posted a flyer on the wall in the senior living facility where her friend was living. The flyer announced a van for sale and, immediately, Carol’s friend knew she would be interested in it for Nette.

“So, I told Nette and she said to tear that flyer off the wall,” Carol recalled with a laugh. “We went to Clayton and brought it back. Within two hours, we owned that van.”

And the van got great use. Whenever Nette needed to be transported, it was there, ready to hit the road. It’s now Carol’s hope the van will be there for others in their time of need.

“We’re very grateful for Carol’s donation to the VTC,” said Sam Purington, the organization’s Executive Director. “It will help greatly in transporting those with disabilities here in Jefferson County.”

Foundation Director Jeremiah S. Papineau agreed.

“Carol’s selfless gesture will be one that benefits many people here in our community,” he said. “When one thinks of making a donation to a nonprofit like the VTC, it may be thought of in terms of dollars. While those donations make a difference, so do ones like this which help us in another meaningful way.”

Donations like this are just one example of how everyone can do their part to help others in the community, said Carol.

“You don’t have to be rich in dollars to help out,” she said. “Everybody can do their part, whatever it is.”

For more information about how you can help the Volunteer Transportation Center or to become a volunteer driver, contact the agency at 315-788-0422.

About the Volunteer Transportation Center

The Volunteer Transportation Center, Inc. (VTC), established in 1991, drives thousands of miles each year assisting community members in Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence Counties. Over the last 20 years, this essential non-profit organization has provided rides to health care appointments, grocery shopping, and other destinations for residents.

In 2018, our volunteer drivers provided over 414,558 miles of transportation in Jefferson County – that’s 20,000+ hours that our volunteers were on the road making a difference.

The staff, Board of Directors and volunteer drivers look forward to a time when transportation to community activities and services is accessible to all North Country residents regardless of economic or specialized needs. But for now the mission drives on — striving to provide transportation to health, wellness and critical needs destinations utilizing volunteers and mobility management for anyone who has barriers to transportation.

To learn more visit www.VolunteerTransportationCenter.org.

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