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  • Entering the world

    Aug 19,2016

    Lou with game

    You likely are aware that so much of our funding comes from grants and awards. Last year, we were honored to receive a gift from the National Volunteer Transportation Center. We are applying again this year. As part of the application process for the “STAR Award”, we are required to submit a story written by a passenger who receives rides from the Friendly Visitor Program. Louis Ciccone, of Middletown was eager to share his story for this purpose. I met Lou earlier this week. His story is so inspiring that I was compelled to share it with a wider audience. Thank you, Lou, for giving me permission to be a “guest blogger”! Now, for Lou’s words…

    Lou in car

    “Transportation in Orange County, NY is virtually nonexistent! It took months to years before I connected with Jewish Family Service’s Friendly Visitor Program. I haven’t driven since May of 2004 resulting from a Neurological Disorder. After several brain surgeries in 2005 the disorder was corrected. Unfortunately, it left me visually impaired. After an extremely long recovery I was ready to return to the workforce. Getting a job was frustrating, traveling to and from was worse. I tip my hat to JFS for making it possible. I was a prisoner in my own home residing in a development, four miles to the nearest bus stop. It’s a losing situation as I desperately searched for rides to work.

    I was desperate for help. The one way $20 cab ride inspired me to contact my congressman. After his failure I called the County Department of Transportation. Their answer was to call somebody else. Writing was my last hope. Remarkably, my email to the Lion’s Club found resolve. Doris Rubinsky (a Lion member, and the Program Director for JFS) responded to my plea. This was the breakthrough I hoped for; this was the beginning of stability in my life! The volunteer drivers soon were transformed into friends. I am a lucky man to connect with this organization! I can travel to work and any medical appointments without my wife losing a day’s pay. Here I am one decade later; they continue providing the means to enter the world.”