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2023 Year in Review

Updated: Jan 5

If we didn’t know it already, 2023 would have proved to us how many amazing and caring people there are in our community. From our staff and volunteers to our clients and our donors, we continue to be awed by all of you. So, let’s dive into our 2023 Year in Review!

Our staff and volunteers saw some major changes this year, with bittersweet retirements and new faces around the office.

  • Bill Francis retired from our Board of Directors. He had been serving since 2009 when he was asked to join by his friend, who happened to be the Board Chair at the time. We are forever in his debt. 

  • Our Fleet Maintenance Supervisor and Dispatcher, Jenny Dick, retired after eight years. She spent her last few months training two employees to take over her multitude of duties, so that we can continue serving our clients safely and with compassion and care. Jenny not only looked after our clients, but she looked after all of us in the office too. We miss her dearly, but were happy to award her with Employee of the Year for 2023 and a Special Achievement award for all of the amazing work she did with us. 

Jenny holding her Employee of the Year plaque and smiling at our Holiday Party.

We also have been extremely lucky to welcome some amazing new people to our team. 

  • For dispatch, Mahea and Kaitlyn T joined us. If you ever call into the office, it’s likely you’ll hear from one of them! 

  • Jason Tighe joined us to take over Fleet Maintenance and Safety, but you may also see him on the road as a driver from time to time. When he joined our team he said his goal is “to do anything that needs to be done when Dial-A-Bus needs it.”

Our new drivers this year are: Kevin Armentano, Jessie Darling, Ryan DeVoe, David Holden, Matt Hurlbutt, Gavin Milligan, Danny Sanchez. We are so happy to have them on our team and many of them very quickly earned Employee of the Month status.

We also had three new volunteers sign up to drive with us! This year, our volunteers drove about 40,000 miles transporting our clients over 3,000 hours. That’s equal to our volunteers driving back and forth across the country 14 times! We truly couldn’t do it without them.

Of course, no year is perfect and there were hardships to overcome. The national labor shortage continued in 2023 with millions more job openings than unemployed people. We’ve been lucky to add the people above to our team this year, but there were still times throughout the year when it was not enough. During those difficult periods, our staff really stepped up, with drivers taking on extra hours and office staff picking up driving shifts, to ensure that our clients were not left without a ride. But, the labor shortage was not the only difficulty to overcome. We’ve all seen the effects of inflation and prices rising this year. For us, this includes pricier vehicles, more expensive maintenance, a higher possibility of employee burnout, etc. Thankfully, even with our hardships, our staff continued to push forward and rededicate themselves to providing compassion, community, and connection for every individual that we serve.

  • One of our drivers, Tim, led the way to make sure that we were still able to get Thanksgiving meals to our clients who needed it the most this year.

  • With the support of the Linn County Administration, we expanded our area of service.

  • We raised our employee wage scale to meet cost of living increases, holding true to our nonprofit roots.

  • Partnered with a fifth school district and purchased 2 new vehicles to be sure that no child is underserved.

  • Delivered water and other supplies to many people who are unhoused on the hottest days of the year.

  • Our employees spent time with other nonprofits, training their staff how to properly install various types of car seats for children.

  • Expanded our hours of operation to ensure displaced students can participate in extracurricular activities.

This is all on top of our regular services, which include, but are not limited to:

  • Accessible transportation available to all of Benton County’s senior citizens and people with disabilities.

  • Specialized transportation for children, based on their needs, to get them to school and other nonprofit services like those provided by Old Mill Center and the Boys and Girls Club.

  • ADA transportation for OSU academic and athletic events and shuttle transportation for the Symphony in Salem and other community events.

Without the help of every single one of our generous donors, we would not be able to provide all of the services listed above. We appreciate each of you and your determination to make this community the best place that it can be for everyone. 

We also wanted to take a moment to highlight the awesome small business owners and larger companies who have supported us this year: 

  • Evergreen Dental, Inkwell Home Store, John Gardner of ViewPlus and a member of our board, Precision Approach Engineering, Dutch Bros., Common Fields, and HI Charities. 

Unfortunately, this was the final year for events with HI Charities, which has helped us raise $14,000 over the last few years through their Give65 matched fundraisers. Since those events ended in July of 2023, we added a fun giveaway with a local artist for Giving Tuesday and created our own matched event on the final two days of the year. These fundraisers were so successful thanks to our wonderful donors and we hope to continue finding new ways to get your donations matched throughout the year in 2024. 

In the meantime, there are always other ways to donate: 

  • Our regular donation form is always available on our website. 

  • You can also click the button below our donation form to see if your employer will match your donation for you! The button would take you here.

  • You can sign up for Fred Meyer Community Rewards or Walmart Round Up. 

  • Donate a vehicle. 

  • Recycle with BottleDrop using our blue bags.

  • Make GoodSearch your homepage and select us as your charity.

  • Set up monthly donations through Donorbox or PayPal on our website. We now have three monthly donors and would love to see more in 2024.

Thank you all for supporting our mission and keeping our wheels turning. As one of our board members recently said, “When people with disabilities [or seniors] don’t have rides and transportation to get somewhere, then we don’t get to know them. We don’t get to have those relationships and our communities are worse for that.” Humanity, compassion, connection, and preservation of dignity is what we do, and we can’t wait to see what we can do together in 2024.

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