Hook up with FISH
Lorraine Schmidt, 87, began using Friends In Service Here when she decided to hang up her own car keys five years ago. She hasn't looked back.
"It's just a delightful service," said Schmidt, who lives in Fayetteville. "Everybody is so accommodating and so agreeable."
FISH is a local, nonprofit organization comprised of volunteers who drive ambulatory people from the Manlius, Fayetteville and Minoa communities, to and from doctor's appointments. To request a ride, clients are asked to give three to seven days notice so FISH can line up a driver, and it rarely fails to serve.
"We have such enthusiastic drivers," said Becky Augat, a driver since 1972. "[But] we could always use more volunteers."
The organization has just over 100 clients and an average of 90 drivers. A dispatcher schedules drivers according to their availability, but no one is 100 percent accessible.
FISH continues to seek dependable volunteers who are willing to help for as little or as much time as they wish.
Retiree Dick Young of Minoa became a volunteer about five years ago. He was looking for something to do, he said, and found FISH a way to give back to the community. Young said he's usually home from his assignments within two to three hours; drivers are expected to wait at the doctor's office until their client is through with his or her appointment.
"They really appreciate what we're doing," Young said. "Just the smile on their face; their blessing you. It's really gratifying."
History of FISH
The Fayetteville/Manlius/Minoa chapter was formed in 1970 but FISH actually originated across the big pond in 1961. A small group of congregates at St. Andrew's Church in Oxford, England sought to minister their neighbors by creating a sort of neighborhood watch. Cards designed with a fish (a Christian symbol) were distributed to each home and a street warden was assigned to watch over the people in his area. If someone were in need of help, he or she would place the fish card in their window so when the local street warden saw the card, he would immediately respond.