I'd like to reflect on an unheralded aspect of our infrastructure: Care-A-Van services.
As you go about your daily business, you've noticed the fleet of white-lettered vans criss-crossing the community. Until my mother, now 90, moved from Phoenix to Juneau six years ago, I had little insight into the role those vans play in the lives of so many citizens.
My mother drove and worked until the day before she moved to Juneau. I knew she wanted to remain active and independent in her new community, but had decided to hang up her keys. Though uncertain about how to make her desires come to pass, a single phone call connected her to Care-A-Van, which has accommodated her in the pursuit of her objectives ever since.
Like the thousands of others routinely served by the Care-A-Van dispatchers and drivers, my mother is treated with dignity and respect. Such is a contrast to stories from down south. My mother's friend, a former teacher and active community volunteer is almost forced to live as a shut-in since health problems rendered her unable to drive. When she requests assistance from the Phoenix equivalent of Care-A-Van, say for an 11 a.m. appointment, the best the dispatcher will or can do is tell her to be ready for pickup after 8 a.m. and that she'll be home by 5 p.m. And most often their statement becomes a reality! What does each individual take away from such experiences?
For countless reasons, I'm glad that my mother moved to Juneau when she did. Her being here has provided a window into an array of people, supports and services. None of us know what's around the corner. It's a comfort to know not only that Care-A-Van exists, but also how it exists.