RSVP of Dane County

  T he R oad Ahead
      Notes of interest for Volunteer Drivers ~ May  2018                                 
RSVP color logo

RSVP's Driver Services Program provides Seniors and Veterans with donation-only transportation in communities across Dane County and delivers meals in communities outside Madison.
The Dashboard

  'S taying in Y our L ane' 
  W hen a  P assenger F alls

   Passenger falls, although rare, are something that some of you drivers may encounter during your time as a volunteer driver.  

   With that in mind, RSVP and partnering senior centers have developed a new guideline that we hope is helpful if you're ever in this situation.

The main change to the policy is that a fall doesn't automatically  trigger a  call to 911.  We know from experience that some passengers would resist an ambulance ride for a wide variety of reasons -- They believe it will strain their finances or threaten their independence, or maybe their pride is on the line.   Whatever the reason, we revised the policy balancing respect for our passengers with our desire to help our drivers  handle a fall safely.

One of the most important points this revision makes is that we want our drivers to tell their senior center staff contacts about any and all falls, whether emergency responders were called or not. Communicating this information means that staff can document falls in an effort to identify any safety concerns that may be developing.  

We will be distributing a list of senior center staff to contact so you will know who to call in an emergency.  Look for more about that and other new supplies coming your way in the coming months. 

Also, watch for an announcement about a driver meeting to talk through this new policy and answer any of your questions -- more on that mid-Summer!  Until then, you can read our new Falls Policy on our website by clicking here for passengers and here for meal recipients.

   R ide A long  Anyone?

  elder-picnic.jpg  Most things are more fun when you share them with someone else, so why not ask a friend to join you on one of your passenger rides?  

Let us know if you have a friend you'd like to bring along on one of your rides.  This would be a great way for them to try on the role of a volunteer driver.  And we always need drivers, so give it some thought!

Call Mary Schmelzer, 441-7896 or Debbie Bormann, 441-7892 if your're interested.

  Road Report:
  Clocking Time and Miles
  (and other nagging stuff)

  car_keys_map.jpg  You've heard this all before, but it bears repeating: We need your hours and mileage  reported each month. 

    Some of you have shared that you don't report because you're not asking for mileage reimbursement, but please remember, every mile you drive represents a person who needed our services -- when you all report your miles and hours, it helps us paint a clearer picture of the amount of people who need and use our services!  

   If you need a supply of driver activity reports, paper or electronic, please contact Debbie Bormann, 441-7892 or Enter only whole numbers in the mileage column on your report please.

  Behind the Wheel:
  Duane Van Haren

Duane Van Haren's been helping people with transportation for more than 60 years.  He put in 41 years working for the Chicago Northwestern Railroad and has driven thousands of miles taking passengers of Driver Services' Vets Helping Vets and Driver Escort programs to their appointments. 

Duane was raised in Madison in a family of five kids - three boys and two girls.  Duane, his twin brother Don and older brother Jack enlisted in the U.S. Airforce on Dec. 24 1951. Jack was sent over to Korea, Duane and Don were stationed at Fairchild Airforce Base in Spokane, Washington, where Duane began his career working with railroads, servicing the 13 miles of track on the base.

After his time in the service was up, Duane returned to Madison, where he was kept busy attending classes in Carpentry at MATC, working for the Chicago Northwestern Railroad; and marrying his lovely bride Bonnie.  After he finished at MATC, he began a remodeling company named Van's Woodworking, while still working for the railroad and helping Bonnie raise their eight children!

Not one to let grass grow beneath his feet in his retirement, he started volunteering at Middleton Senior Center driving seniors to their medical appointments. Soon after, he joined the band of drivers for Vets Helping Vets to transport Veterans and their family members to a wide variety of appointments. 

"I meet a lot of different people who really need a ride, which I enjoy," Duane said. "I especially like talking with the Veterans and my regular passengers too."  Passengers who sit in Duane's front seat, probably count themselves pretty darn lucky - he's one of the 'good guys' whose life really encapsulates service to others. Thanks Duane!

In the Rearview: 2017

  Another mighty year of service for you volunteer drivers!  With a total force of 654 drivers you:
~ delivered 87,756 meals to seniors and veterans in Dane County communities outside of Madison, (an increase of 3,318 meals from 2016).

clocked 32,254 hours (an increase of 40 hours.

logged 422,978 miles (an increase of 13,186 miles)

  Wow!  You should feel proud of this accomplish- ment.  This service is a key piece that helps your passengers  remain living  independently in their homes for longer.  A noble goal and true service to your community.

From the Passenger Seat

 "Due to progressive eye problems, I am unable to drive myself and my family's work schedule does not permit them to drive for me.  The drivers are courteous, they see to my needs and are good drivers."
~Oregon passenger

"I never had a drivers license so without them where could I turn for a needed ride.  Drivers are kind and courteous and very aware of the needs of their riders."
~Cross Plains passenger

"It has been a lifesaver for me.  It has given me a safe way to get to my doctor and keep my appoint- ments.  I have to be checked every month and now I can."
  ~Madison passenger

"It is a blessing for a senior!  It gives us the dignity we need when we are most helpless. The drivers are great company too!."
  ~Sun Prairie passenger

"I would not be able to go to the doctor, dentist or physical rehabilitation without the RSVP volun- teers bringing me. I live sort of out in the country. I might have had to move out of my home if it was not possible to get a ride.
~Dane Passenger

Pit Crew/Staff

Debbie Bormann,
Co-Manager, 441-7892 or

Mary Schmelzer, 
Co-Manager, 441-7896 or

Robin Heilprin, Madison/Monona Coordinator, 441-7898 or

Joe Miller,
Vets Helping Vets Coordinator, 238-7901 or

Thanks to our Program Funder:
Dane County Health and Human Services

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