For those who can’t get around on their own, iTNLanier fills the gap.
Jon Stiehr had been shuffled back and forth to doctors’ appointments primarily by his wife Linda Stiehr until she saw an article in The Times about the driving service.
Jon and Linda were chauffeured from their home by Northeast Georgia Health System President and CEO of Carol Burrell to a celebration for the organization’s 1,000th ride Saturday.
“(Burrell) is a wonderful lady, and she’s been supportive all the way,” said Erika Walker, a member of the iTNLanier board.
Burrell said providing normalcy and independence for the older adult community has been rewarding.
The nonprofit organization has helped senior citizens and those who are no longer able to drive find rides to where they need to go in Hall County.
It doesn’t have to be a doctor’s visit or a trip to the grocery store. iTNLanier also helps transport people to volunteering opportunities, social events and more for 24 hours a day and seven days a week.
“(Older adults) need to stay connected to the community, too,” Walker said.
The goal of the organization is to provide arm-to-arm, door-through-door service, meaning the drivers don’t just honk the horn and wait at the curb.
The Stiehrs live in Braselton and sometimes the commute to and from Gainesville is just too much on their schedules. They tried booking cabs, but said they found them unreliable and costly. Cab drivers would charge them different rates per trip, even when it was the same route. iTNLanier charges a $4 pick-up charge and $1.20 per mile, with no tips allowed.
Sometimes as often as eight times a week, Jon Stiehr will request a driver from iTNLanier.
Becky Nance is the organization’s only full-time paid employee. Nance, the office manager and dispatcher for the service, also inputs new clients into the server and orients new drivers.
Since the organization has grown exponentially in the past 10 months, it is in a continual search for volunteer drivers.