Who could have imagined in 1975 that over the course of 40 years, the RSVP Driver Services Program would provide approximately 300,000 rides and deliver 1,400,000 meals to seniors and veterans in communities across Dane County. Nor did its founders realize how much money the program would save the county. In 2014 alone, Dane County saved an estimated $748,458 by using Driver Services instead of a for-profit service. Just imagine the money saved over the course of 40 years. It paints a picture of just how powerfully volunteers impact our community.
The Driver Escort Program, with funding from Dane County, was organized in 1975 by Judy Koeppl, the first coordinator, and Bob Suhr, Director of RSVP. They worked with local communities, churches, and senior groups to work out the details on how this volunteer web would function. Key to its success was their ability to recruit volunteers to coordinate a band of volunteer drivers in their respective communities to deliver meals to homes and to drive seniors to appointments. The program broadened its reach in 2011, when the Vets Helping Vets Program was established to serve the growing number of veterans in need of transportation support.
The bottom line is that Driver Services works because of people who see the need, including drivers, volunteer coordinators, staff, and funders, and want to be a part of the solution. These elements of awareness and concern are at the core of every great volunteer program - great programs like Driver Escort, Vets Helping Vets and Home-Delivered Meals. Happy 40th Anniversary Driver Services!