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CatFISH volunteer drivers help Camillus seniors stay independent in their homes

CatFISH volunteer and board president Helen Moore (right) helps Thelma “T” Schroeder into her car. Schroeder calls herself one of the program’s “frequent fliers.”

CatFISH volunteer and board president Helen Moore (right) helps Thelma “T” Schroeder into her car. Schroeder calls herself one of the program’s “frequent fliers.” Photo by Ned Campbell.

— To continue to meet that need in Camillus, CatFISH is seeking more volunteers. Bacon said volunteers need only a valid driver’s license, a vehicle “and a big heart.” Rides are provided Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, and volunteers are scheduled to drive one day each month, or more if they’re willing.

Those interested in helping out can call 672-5820.

Camillus seniors in need of a ride to medical or dental appointments can reach CatFISH by calling 701-5949 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Riders must be ambulatory, as CatFISH does not have the means to accommodate seniors in wheelchairs, Bacon said.

Rooted in generosity

Moore has been volunteering with CatFISH for five and a half years. She started just a few months after the program was founded.

“Before we started there was a group of about six or eight people who met with Mary Ann Coogan, the town supervisor,” she said. “And Mary Ann recognized there was a need for this service.”

Moore remembers well the first time she was called to give Schroeder a ride.

“I made a turn, I went over a curb and I got a flat tire,” she said.

She said the tire was “flatter than a pancake.”

“Now here I am on the way to pick up a client — and thank god I had allowed five or ten extra minutes. So I had a little time to spare,” she said.

What happened next has come to define CatFISH: Moore called on a friend, and her friend delivered.

Moore called Martha, who lived near Shove Park and also drove for CatFISH, and asked for help. She recalled Martha saying, “Well I’m not even dressed yet, but I’ll throw on some clothes and I’ll come over.”

“So I called Thelma,” Moore said. “I said, ‘Thelma, if I’m a minute or two late, don’t be nervous.’

“Well Martha came over and we picked up Thelma for her appointment, and away we went.”

Ned Campbell can be reached at editor@eagle-observer.com.

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