Mr. Chairman arid Committee Members:
It is an honor to be with you here today to talk about something that is dear to my heart. First, let me tell you something about myself. My late husband and I raised three sons, and that was as experience in itself. After my children got into school, my husband who was employed by the Norfolk and Western Railroad went to work and I started back to school to become an elementary school teacher in a one room schoolhouse in rural Appalachia, West Virginia.
I saw the many challenges of the rural Appalachian people, so I changed careers and became a Social Worker for the Department of Health and Human Resources in rural West Virginia. Throughout my career, I worked with low income families and one of the biggest obstacles of obtaining services was the lack of transportation. At that time there was no public transportation in Wayne County. Throughout my twenty-two years in my career there was always a need for individuals to access services. Throughout my life I have been a very independent person as you can see, raising a family, starting not just one career but two in my life, and having the priviledge of having my own transportation. Most of us take for granted picking up our car keys, going out of the house and going, anywhere we want to go.
Even though I have always recognized the need for rural transportation, I never thought that it would be something that I would need. After my husband passed away, I lived alone in my home. I then downsized to an apartment. I was still able to go to my homemaker meetings, church activities, Board Member meetings, volunteer work, and continued to meet my friends FOR lunch Ind social activities. My physician informed me that I was going to have to have both of my knees replaced. He stated that after my surgery and rehabilitation that I would need to go to physical therapy three times a week for several weeks. My two eldest sons both live out of state and my youngest son works full-time, therefore was unable to take me to my therapy sessions. I then realized that I was one of the people who needed transportation. I was no longer independent and this was quite a shock to me. Thanks to Public Transportation I was able to obtain the medical services that I needed.
Being a member of Wayne County Community Service Organization, Inc. Board of Directors, I can sit here today in front of you and let you know how important the Public Transit. System is to the people. How it enables them to access needed services. Wayne X-Press Public Transit System in Wayne, West Virginia provides transportation services to people for medical appointments, to jobs, job interviews, Job training, social activities, senior citizen centers, Adult Day treatment programs, general education training, parenting classes, etc. I'm here today to ask you distinguished ladies and gentlemen to continue funding for Public Transit Systems. Why? Because it is the lifeline for the public. So I, invite all of you to Wayne County, West Virginia to "hop aboard" the Wayne X-Press.
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