FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Fort Wayne retiree David Lechleitner is one of thousands of residents who relies on the services of the Community Transportation Network (CTN). “It means everything to me,” said Lechleitner. “The drivers have always been very kind to me. They always greet me with encouraging words.”
“I think the thing that sets us above everybody else is the personal touch,” said CTN driver Jim Braid. “We go door to door. I go right up to the client’s door and we walk them out, help them with their wheelchair, walker, whatever they’ve got.”
Braid has been driving CTN vans for four years, transporting people like 76-year old Lechleitner who require a little extra care getting to and from their destinations. “It means everything to me because when I first started I was in a wheelchair and could only get around that way,” said Lechleitner. “This service helps me get to my therapy and because I’ve been able to do that I can now walk with a walker and sometimes with a cane.”
CTN Director Becky Weimerskirch said the Network has become a regional resource that is financially supported by many organizations and it isn’t just for senior citizens. “We help people with disabilities, low-income families, children, youth and of course the organizations trying to serve them,” said Weimerskirch.
Since it began in 2004, CTN has offered almost half a million passenger trips and it continues to grow. “This year I think we’re going to top 100,000 passenger trips for just one year which is phenomenal and that’s impacting 6,000 individuals,” said Weimerskirch.
CTN is now looking for more drivers to accommodate that growth. Currently it has 27. Those who apply must have a good driving record. They must also pass a background check, drug test and physical and be able to help passengers get on and off the van. “I had the misconception when I first started this that you just drive,” said Braid. “Well that’s just a portion because we have to help the client and do different things. We say hand in hand door to door and that’s what we do.”
“It’s only cost me $5 each way to my therapy right now but I think they do regulate that according to what you can afford,” said Lechleitner. “It’s been a God send to me.”
The Community Transportation Network website has more details about the agency’s services and driver positions available. You can also call (260) 494-1952 for more information.