Reed family donates $100,000 to handibus

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Funds will help purchase one of three new buses

Rocky View Regional Handibus Society just received a handy donation and it’s big enough to buy a new bus.

A Cochrane family, the Reeds, recently donated just under $100,000 to the organization.

“We’re thrilled to get this kind of support,” said Paul Siller, general manager of Rocky View Handibus.

“To have a family call us out of the blue and donate a bus is a humbling experience. We are very grateful to the Reed family.”

The funds will go toward the organization’s efforts to raise $250,000 to replace at least three of their older transport vehicles. Each of the new buses is expected to cost roughly $85,000.

Siller said the donated funds have allowed Rocky View Handibus to place an order for the first bus.

“With this donation and another donation, we’re about 60 per cent of our way to fund the second bus,” Siller said.

Rocky View Handibus currently has 20 transport vehicles, which include minivans, but at least four need to be retired, and two of those are essentially decommissioned all together, Siller said.

Before the demand rose for the buses, Rocky View buses used to take a single client on a trip.

“Now, we’ve got three people heading into Calgary at the same time, two people in wheelchairs. It lets us get another person needing a lot of space onto the bus and increases our efficiency as the demand keeps growing,” Siller said.

Rocky View Handibus Society currently has 1,000 active passengers registered from six municipalities including Cochrane, Chestermere, Crossfield, Irricana, Beiseker and Rocky View County. The six municipalities contribute 75 per cent of operating costs. Passenger fares contribute about 20 to 25 per cent. Funds from donations and fundraising is used to purchase the vehicles.

Margaret Reed, who is behind the donation, said when her late husband, Don, was ill, he had at least seven specialist doctors and often three to four appointments per week. Reed said sometimes the appointments would be at the same time as her own appointments or else be at a location she wasn’t comfortable driving.

“We started using the handibus. They would pick him up at the door and bring him home and it made a world of difference to our life,” Reed said.

“I just thought that it’s really important for Cochrane to have that handibus. I know it’s used by an awful lot of people … It’s a wonderful thing to have in this town.”

Don was an active member of the community involved with the Rotary Club of Cochrane and the Aerospace Museum.

The 10th annual Gryzko Harper Bouw Charity Poker Tournament – held on Oct. 27 at the Stoney Nakoda Resort and Casino – will also be donating all proceeds to Rocky View Regional Handibus Society. To register go to http://ghbca.com/docs/2018_poker-tournament_registration%20fillable.pdf.

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Amy Tucker

Amy is a news reporter with the Cochrane Eagle covering everything from fire, crime and education to Morley events. Her previous career highlights include producing a mini documentary in India and coproducing a podcast spotlighting the tricky mixture of love and age. Amy has a degree in journalism and has tendencies to wander. When she's not writing the news, she spends her spare time swimming, dreaming about her next adventure and thinking about ways that she can make the planet a little greener.