St. Mary’s ‘Old Blue’ expires

November 26, 2007

By Linda Scherer
Staff Writer

St. Mary’s bus, Old Blue, has been a dependable means of transportation for the care center for 23 years. However, last week the faithful old bus expired outside of Carlson’s Apple Orchard leaving its St. Mary’s resident passengers stranded.

St. Mary’s bus task force was hoping Old Blue would hang in there for just a few more months because it is short only $8,000 of the total $48,000 needed to replace the now unreliable bus with a new 15-passenger bus.

The new bus offers an updated and safer wheelchair lift, more wheelchair tie downs, and air conditioning.

The bus task force of Woody and Helen Yager, Dick and Joan Genty, Jean and Jan Kappel, Bill Fynboh, and Berdine Johnson have raised a total of $40,000 since it began its fundraising in January 2007.

St. Mary’s Care Center is a nonprofit long term, health care facility located in Winsted.

The care center improves the quality of resident life by using the bus for many activities including local community events, frequenting local businesses, taking patients to appointments, basic transportation needs, and family outings to different events.

The bus is not just used for St. Mary’s Care Center but also for Linden Wood Apartment residents.

Without Old Blue’s availability, St. Mary’s has had to rely on bus rental services which are expensive, are not always readily available, and the transportation service is not always willing to wait for the residents once they reach their destination, Woody Yager, member of the bus task force, said.

The bus committee is hoping that once the public is made aware of Old Blue’s status they will be able to raise the last $8,000 and purchase the new bus as soon as possible.

Donors will be recognized on a special plaque to be placed in the new bus.

To become a gold level sponsor the donation is $5,000, a silver level sponsor is $2,000, a platinum level sponsor donates $1,000, and $500 is a bronze level sponsor.

Any donation amount will be appreciated. It is alright to give anonymously or in memory of someone.

If you would like to consider a gift to the SMCC bus fundraiser, contact Andy Opsahl, administrator/CEO of St. Mary’s Care Center/Linden Wood Apartments at (320) 485-3130.

Donations are tax deductible and are accepted at Flagship Bank of Winsted.

Donations can also be sent to SMCC, bus fundraiser, 551 Fourth St. N., Suite 101, Winsted, MN 55395.