Red Cross Transportation Services provide residents living in Mecklenburg and South Iredell counties free transportation to and from critical medical appointments. There were 17,145 rides provided by more than 70 volunteers last year.
Coy Powell, a Red Cross volunteer driver for more than four years, said one of the most important qualities in a driver is being flexible. Powell said some people may complain and want no assistance, while others are excited to see him. He said it is their choice to receive assistance. “We assist where we can; we do not force ourselves.”
Powell said his favorite element about this service is meeting different people. He said he enjoys to hear their life experiences, where they have been and what they have done. While volunteering at the Red Cross, Powell met a client that had coached baseball at his former high school when he had attended.
While on his route Thursday, Jan. 28, Powell picked up Lula Stewart, who moved to Charlotte in 1992. Stewart has been using this service once a month for more than two years. She said she enjoys the atmosphere, company and a pleasant drive with conversation. Stewart’s most memorable moment was her second ride with the Red Cross. No volunteer drivers were available to pick her up from her doctor visit, so Betty Burton, the scheduling coordinator, picked her up. Stewart said she was amazed at how courteous Burton was.
The second client for Powell was Christine Leach, who has been in Charlotte since 1963. Leach has been using this service twice a week for four or five years. She said the drivers are very nice to her, and they always help her in and out of the car. Leach said, “I could not ask for a better ride.”
The third client for Powell was Horace Matthews, who has been in Charlotte since 1962. Matthews has been using this service twice a week for five years. He said he likes the drivers, who are on time no matter what. Matthews said laughing, “They need to be paid!”