It was four years ago that the members of the Stuart Lake Seniors Association made a strategic plan alongside Economic Development Officer, Emily Columbo from the District of Fort St. James.
This plan identified a need for transportation for the seniors within the Fort St. James community and this is when “Seniors Helping Seniors” was developed.
The program helps meet senior’s needs from deliveries to medical appointments out of town.
According to Judy Greenaway, president of the Stuart Lake Seniors Association, something was still missing; there still seemed a need socially for the seniors in the community.
This is when the idea of a bus was introduced by past district council member, Russ Gingrich. The Stuart Lake Auxiliary was approached and a very generous donation of $30,000 was made to help the idea of a bus come to be.
Julie-Ann Mortenson is president of the auxiliary. “It’s our wish to provide patients and residents with comfort and care. We thought this to be useful in our community and especially for our seniors, Mortenson said.
Diane Vinnedge couldn’t agree more. She is a member of both the auxiliary and the seniors association. “It’s wonderful if you can’t drive due to medical reasons. There are lots of seniors who are in wheelchairs in Fort St. James,” Vinnedge said.
Funding also came from New Horizons, a seniors grant program. Other local companies also jumped on board to help with the purchase of the bus including: Canfor, Newland Enterprises Ltd., Carrier Lumber, Sinclair Group, Northland Automotive & Industrial Wholesale Ltd., BnK Automotive, Auto Parts Plus Riverside Repairs and Lost Creek Holdings.
“Without all of this support, we would never have been able to make this happen,” Greenaway said.
The bus was purchased this past summer and it will make its first trip on Oct. 30. Seniors will be travelling to a studio fair in Prince George. “We are planning for one social event each month,” Greenaway said.
Greenaway is grateful to the community for all of their help. “Social interaction for our seniors is an important part of their well-being. We are very proud of our bus and we would like to thank the Stuart Lake Hospital Auxiliary and all the others who contributed and helped make this possible for the seniors of Fort St. James.”