By Margaret Brand
The Westport Lions will be able to offer additional transportation services to medical appointments with a new van they purchased with a decade of donations.
The vehicle was purchased without additional fundraising efforts or a donation from Lions International.
“We had enough funds with all the donations from the community,” said Lion Dave Blair, who headed the committee which researched and completed the purchase of the van.
After the consideration of selling or trading-in the present van, committee members came to the conclusion the old van was worth keeping.
“There’s enough demand we can keep the two going. It’s 10 or 11 years old. Your trade in value isn’t much money. It only has 100,000 kilometers on it,” said Blair.
The committee, which also included Dale Lyons, Pat McGinnis and Jim Scala, has been getting together over the last year to study options of vehicles to purchase and looked at five or six vehicles.
The availability of volunteer drivers was one consideration taken into the decision in purchasing a smaller vehicle.
“Some drivers weren’t comfortable driving the old van,” said Blair who is coordinating the service.
It also offers something more efficient and comfortable when only one person is being transported.
The new vehicle was made in Mishawaka, Indiana, at a facility where Hummers were once made.
It was designed from the ground up to be wheelchair accessible with the ramp and wheelchair user being forefront in the design.
In the Lions vehicle a short and a long power ramp extend out from within the fully-boxed steel frame. The floor of the vehicle is uniform from back to front. Two wheel chairs can be accommodated, including one in the front if the passenger seat is removed as well as one in the back.
Advance bookings for vans can be made between 7 and 9 p.m. through Dave Blair at 273-9255.