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Antigonish CARE Van continues to serve town, county residents

Warden Owen McCarron of the Municipality of the County of Antigonish and Mayor Laurie Boucher of the Town of Antigonish recently made their annual municipal contributions to the Antigonish CARE Van Society. Society chairman Bob Hillier accepted the monies, while volunteer driver Roy Lawlor stopped by with the vehicle after making a run. Corey LeBlanc
Warden Owen McCarron of the Municipality of the County of Antigonish and Mayor Laurie Boucher of the Town of Antigonish recently made their annual municipal contributions to the Antigonish CARE Van Society. Society chairman Bob Hillier accepted the monies, while volunteer driver Roy Lawlor stopped by with the vehicle after making a run. Corey LeBlanc - Corey LeBlanc

Municipalities make annual financial contribution

ANTIGONISH, N.S. —

ANTIGONISH - The legacy of the late Peggy ‘AB’ MacIsaac continues to wind it ways through the streets of Antigonish town and county – and beyond.     
She was the determined senior who led the formation of the Antigonish CARE Van Society in 1991 with its mandate “to provide a better quality of life to seniors and others with mobility difficulties.”     
MacIsaac was also at the forefront of the tireless effort to purchase the first Antigonish CARE Van.     
“She was the driving force,” Municipality of the County of Antigonish Warden Owen McCarron remembered of MacIsaac.     
“She wanted to see this become a reality and her effort, singlehandedly, got it off the ground.”     
Earlier this month, on a snowy afternoon outside the People’s Place Library on Main Street, McCarron and Town of Antigonish Mayor Laurie Boucher presented their respective annual contributions to the ride service to society chairman Bob Hillier.     
“We are still going strong,” he said, with Roy Lawlor, one of the Antigonish CARE Van drivers, parked nearby for a photo after dropping off a passenger.     
They are two of seven volunteer drivers who provide daily service to Antigonish town and county residents.
“We have had many great people help out over the years,” Hillier said, noting there are no paid employees.     
Along with municipal support, the society is able to keep its accessible vehicle on the road and maintained through the generosity of businesses and the communities.     
Donations from community organizations, memorials and individuals also help fund the initiative.     
“It is a very reasonable fee,” Hillier said of what a passenger has to pay for a ride.     
The society serves local nursing homes, seniors’ apartments and L’Arche Antigonish, along with residents living in their homes.     
Volunteer drivers take clients to medical, dental and eye appointments, while also transporting them to community and family functions – such as the annual Remembrance Day services at the Antigonish cenotaph.     
There are also outings to concerts and other celebrations; not to mention locations, such as Cape George and Beaver Mountain Park.     
The boundaries of the service, which runs seven days per week, are Antigonish town and county.     
Holiday service is available and hours are flexible, depending on the client’s request.     
“When it began in the early 90s, it was mainly a seniors’ vehicle – [for] people with physical disabilities that couldn’t get around to appointments and so forth,” Hillier said.     
As the service evolved, he noted the society started to realize that there were other people in the community that could benefit from the ride service.     
“We broadened our base and now anyone with a physical ability that requires a vehicle with a lift can call us.”     
After almost three decades, Hillier agreed the community service remains in high demand.     
“We have a ridership that has remained fairly steady over the years,” Hillier said.     
Boucher noted the service “would not be possible” without the support provided by the people of Antigonish, along with the effort of volunteers.     
She remembered the tremendous support from the business and broader communities that was provided to help launch the initiative.     “The people of Antigonish really came through; once again, it is an example of how everybody working together can help with the betterment of the community,” Boucher said.     
McCarron also commended the countless volunteers who have provided the service, along with those who fundraised not only to launch but also maintain it.     
“The merchants also made a huge difference in helping to propel this to where it is today,” he noted.     
For more information, or to access the CARE Van service, call the R.K. MacDonald Nursing Home in Antigonish at 902-863-2578.  
“We are proud to be partners and offer, in some small way, help along the way with the CARE Van,” McCarron said of the support from the local municipalities.
“It is a great initiative and it is nice to see it sustain as long as it has in our community.”
 

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