It was a real pleasure listening to Thaddeus Seymour on NPR last week as he described what transportation means for older people who have stopped driving. Thaddeus is the retired President of Rollins College, but he is also a volunteer driver and a member of the Board of Directors of ITNOrlando™. The last time I heard Thad speak was in a church meeting room in Orlando at a special volunteer driver recruitment event sponsored by the AARP Florida State Office, ITNAmerica and ITNOrlando.
He is a tall man, more than six feet. I had never heard him speak before a group. He wasn’t scheduled to speak, but he rose from his seat after the presentation on volunteer driving, and spoke from his heart and experience.
“I remember meeting in the basement of this very church in the 1970s,” he said. “We were a small group of local people who came together to try to do something about housing for lower income community members.”
He spoke with the clarity of one who sees his memory as he describes it for others. “It was a new idea at the time,” he said, “called Habitat for Humanity.”
He said what he really liked about the Habitat idea was that the people in the community could actually come together and do something about the problem. They could do it themselves, not ask others to do it for them, but raise the funds and build the houses themselves.
Thaddeus said he felt the same quality and satisfaction with ITN. He loved volunteering to drive others. With every ride he delivered, he helped to meet a need for an older person. And just as he explained in the NPR story, he described how ITN is much more than a ride, how it keeps older people connected to their community, with dignity and independence.