Mayor Dennis Fay Gets to Know Orinda Seniors as Volunteer Driver

0
56
(Jeff Heyman, Photographer)
Orinda Mayor Dennis Fay, seen here at the Orinda Senior Village, is a volunteer driver for the Seniors Around Town program (SAT). This free service is provided by The Orinda Association and gives rides to seniors who can no longer drive themselves. Not only is the program rewarding for the drivers, but one senior told the Mayor the service was a “life saver.”

    Begun August, 2005, the Seniors Around Town (SAT) program is probably the best kept secret in Orinda. At least that’s what Mayor Dennis Fay thinks.
    Fay learned about this vital program, which matches seniors who need to get somewhere with volunteer drivers, only after he was elected to the Orinda City Council. Once he found out about it, he immediately volunteered to drive seniors, literally, around town.
    “A lot of people don’t even know it’s here,” said Fay. “We need more volunteers.”
    Run by the non-profit Orinda Association, SAT drivers provide transportation resources for Orinda seniors no longer able to drive themselves. It not only benefits seniors in need of a ride, but according to Fay, it’s a fulfilling job.
    “It’s quite rewarding,” he said. “I have met all kinds of interesting people, taking them everywhere. Everyone should do it.”
    Fay said that while taking seniors to doctor’s appointments, hairdressers, etc., he’s heard some interesting stories about Orinda.
    “One person I drove has lived in Orinda for 50 years! You hear a lot of historical family stories,” said Fay. “You really get something back talking to all these incredible people.”
    SAT, which received the Orinda Mayor’s Award of Excellence in 2021, provides no cost, door-to-door transportation to all eligible senior Orinda residents.
    Volunteer drivers, like Fay, make the program work by using their own vehicles to drive seniors to keep doctor appointments, do errands, go grocery shopping and enjoy social events in the Lamorinda, Berkeley and Walnut Creek areas.
    Seniors Around Town drivers clocked more than 2,000 miles of rides last year. The program is open to Orinda residents, ages 25 to 75, with a clean DMV driving record and no criminal background.
    SAT operates Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. To avoid surprises, drivers get a week’s notice a senior needs a ride and to which destination. Volunteers also decide how often and how far they are willing or able to drive.
    Fay provides about two rides a month. He recalled driving a senior to his dialysis appointment.
    “Hey, aren’t you the mayor?” the senior asked Fay.
    Another day, Fay said a woman was so thankful for a ride to get her hair done and visit her husband who is in a senior care facility that she described the program as a “life saver.”
    “She told me the service has allowed her to have a life again,” said Fay.
    The Mayor, himself with a background in transportation, enjoys volunteering for the SAT program so much, he said he will continue to drive for SAT once he leaves office at the end of his term.
    Fay encourages everyone able to get involved.
    “If you at all like people, Seniors Around Town is for you,” he said.
    For more information about volunteering or registering for a ride, call 925.402.4506, or visit https://orindaassociation.org/seniors-around-town.

Jeff Heyman can be reached at heyman.foto@gmail.com.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.