New Bus Connects Residents to Community

May 5, 2017

You may have noticed a new set of wheels rolling through Hillsboro. Residents of the Sanford Hillsboro Care Center are enjoying a new 15-passenger bus, purchased with funds contributed to the Sanford Health Foundation Hillsboro.

“The new bus was a major fundraising priority,” said Colleen Hardy, the Foundation’s development officer. “It gives residents a lifeline to the community, empowering them to remain active and connected with family, friends, and neighbors.”

According to DeeDee Gjerswold, Sanford Hillsboro’s activity supervisor, the previous vehicle was aging well past its prime. It was so uncomfortable that residents had begun opting out of group trips they’d once enjoyed.

The new bus is quieter, offers a smooth ride, and is more accommodating for the 36 residents of the care center and nine residents of the assisted living facility. The bus features a front wheelchair lift and flexible seating. It can hold twice the number of wheelchairs as the old bus.

“We needed something that would allow for more wheelchairs,” said Gjerswold. “More than 60 percent of our residents in our facility use a wheelchair, and almost 30 percent of those are unable to transfer to a bus seat.”

With accessible transportation, she emphasized, residents are better able to maintain a sense of independence. They also benefit from associated physical activity and social interaction, all of which contribute to health and well-being.

The bus was used for an inaugural trip to the Dollar General store in Hillsboro. It departs the facility in the morning, or early afternoon.

“This bus reflects the incredible generosity of our community,” said Hardy. “I hope donors feel proud when they see it on the road. Their support made it possible to purchase this vehicle, and it’s making a real impact in people’s lives.”

Funds raised during the Foundation’s past two annual golf tournaments and raffles as well as last year’s Giving Hearts Day have all been dedicated to the purchase of the new bus, she explained.

“We are grateful for our board members, golf committee members, hundreds of golfers, event sponsors, anyone who purchased raffle tickets and individual donors who supported this great project,” she said. “The Hillsboro community should be very proud.”

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