The Hidden Side of RCT

RCT ThumbnailAROUND THE NEK- Rural Community Transport has providing free transportation to the Northeast Kingdom since 1991. Most people have seen or taken their well-known red or white buses, but not many know about another service they provide.

 

"It's the Uber of the Northeast Kingdom," said Mary Grant, RCT's Executive Director. "It's the one that will go around, pick up people, and take them to medical appointments, all kinds of different, adult day services, dental, whatever their needs are."

Volunteers use their personal vehicles to give rides to people who cannot get to take RCT's buses, taking passengers to places that would be difficult to access on their own.

"A lot of the people that I carry, the buses couldn't get to," said Roxanne LaRocque, who is a volunteer driver. "I'm fortunate, I have all wheel drive, so I know a lot of people wouldn't be able to get to where they needed to go. There are some physical hinders to some of them as well."

LaRocque drives all over... even the Dartmouth Medical Center. One of her passengers, Diane Chambers, has been using the service for almost two decades and doesn't know where she'd be without it.

"I started at Depot Square apartments in Saint J. and I've been coming over 17 years," stated Chambers. "Monday through Saturday, for doctors' appointments, I go, then they come and pick me up, and then I go home."

RCT has 85 volunteer drivers on their demand response team, who all come together and provide a necessary service.

"Everyone has to work together as a team. And in the northeast kingdom, we have a very big team," noted Grant. "With the collaboration between NVRH, blueprint for health, and all of the different organizations. So we all work together as a team in order to keep our seniors aging in place."

The concept of "team work and community" is a crucial part of the demand response team...

"But for up in this area, they seem to love to volunteer. And people like to work with their neighbors. It's a neighbor helping neighbor. It's someone who's retired, and says 'I got a little bit of time.' They come in and they volunteer, and some of them just really love it. They are not supposed to get attached, but they get totally attached to the individual," added Grant.

"My brain doesn't turn off when I take the key out. When I'm home cooking supper, I might think about Mr. Smith. 'Oh this is what you taught me today Mr. Smith,'" said LaRocque.

And when the day is done, LaRocque hopes to have learned something new from her passengers each day.

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