Archive for the ‘ITNBluegrass’ Category

Lexington Herald Leader: It’s like Uber for seniors — complete with ‘arm-through-arm’ walk to the door

December 11, 2016

ITNBluegrass Executive Director Laura Dake stands with rider Jack Carty. Carty, 88, works five to six days a week and gets rides from ITNBluegrass to get there. Photo provided BY TOM MARTIN

Laura Dake is executive director of ITN or Independent Transportation Network-Bluegrass. Due to a recent injury that left me temporarily unable to drive, I turned to ITN for transportation around Lexington and quickly discovered what an important difference this nonprofit is making in so many lives in the Bluegrass area. So, I invited Laura to share information about her organization.

Q: First, a brief history on the origins of ITN-Buegrass.

A: About 10 years ago or so, ITN-America decided to launch its model nationwide. In 2007, a lady named Gale Reece had recently retired and was looking for a project in the local community that had something to do with aging. She was particularly interested in housing, but went to the city of Lexington and was told that the real issue in this area was transportation — that people couldn’t really live in their homes without the transportation to get places. They found that ITN-America had started to launch their model nationwide, submitted an application to ITN-America, and it was accepted. I came onboard as a fundraiser because the requirement was that the affiliate needed to raise about $125,000 in order to start.

 Read the full article online here

Lexington Herald Leader: Tom Eblen: Non-profit transportation network celebrates 50,000 rides in seven years

January 26, 2016

Roger Parry drove Ruth Mercer, left, and Ethel Stepp on Dec. 11 on the 50,000th trip of ITN Bluegrass, a non-profit organization that provides transportation for elderly and visually impaired people in Lexington. Laura Dake

Ruth Mercer hasn’t been able to drive for some time, so when doctors last spring told her husband, Jerry, that he should quit driving, she was concerned how they would get around.

The couple recently gave up their home of 43 years off Clays Mill Road to move into an apartment at their daughter’s house, but they didn’t want to be constantly asking her for transportation

Then somebody told them about ITN Bluegrass, a non-profit agency that gives rides to people older than 60 or with visual impairment in Lexington and parts of Jessamine and Woodford counties.

“It has afforded me a lot of freedom,” said Mercer, who uses the service two or three times a week. “I really appreciate what they do. I don’t feel like I’m in a cab. I feel like I’m having a friend drive me.”

 Read the full article online here

Public News Service: Helping KY Seniors Get Around Town Safely

August 10, 2015

PHOTO: Driving means independence in our busy culture, and older people are understandably hesitant to give up their car keys. But they're also more willing to consider it when communities, such as Lexington, make alternate transportation a priority. Photo credit: Greg Stotelmyer

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Research confirms what many folks already know – the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says per mile traveled, fatal crashes increase noticeably at age 70 and are highest among drivers 85 and up.

When Katherine Freund’s now-adult son was three, he was struck by a vehicle driven by an 84-year-old driver. After not talking about the traumatic experience for nearly two decades, Freund came full circle – now using it to shed light on safety and mobility issues facing seniors.

In her words, “telling stories helps solve problems,” so she’s in Kentucky today, to hear what others have to say. “This issue touches millions of people and there are millions of stories out there,” she says. “And, if we’re really going to solve this problem, it has to be about everybody’s stories, not just me, not just my son.”

 Read the full article online here Business awards – Week of June 8

June 16, 2015

Twenty percent of i know expo sponsorship dollars from the 2015 i know expo went into the Blue Grass Community Foundation i know expo foundation. From it, awards were made to two local nonprofits. The total collected this year was $5,400. Of that, the 20 percent went to the i know expo initial nonprofit sponsor, ITNBluegrass (Independent Transportation Network), which offers dignified transportation for seniors. Kentucky CancerLink received the rest.

Read the full article online here

Nashville Public Television: Aging Matters – Aging in Place

May 29, 2015

NPT Reports Aging in Place

The fifth installment in Nashville Public Television’s NPT Reports: Aging Matters series examines what it takes for Tennesseans to successfully age in place.

It’s what most of us say we want, to age in our own home until the end of our lives. But aging in place is no guarantee of a high quality of life. And as we age, our needs may change. Will we be able to climb the stairs, reach those upper cabinets, and manage the upkeep any home requires?

In the documentary you will hear from Americans facing decisions now. What are the common challenges, are there examples of people making it work?

Watch the video online here

I Know Expo wants to educate elderly, caregivers

April 8, 2013

We noticed that if people have transportation they can stay in their homes five years longer,” she said. But even then, some of their clients needed services beyond just transportation.

That’s when the seed for the I Know Expo took root. The event centers on issues that affect the elderly and their caregivers and will feature vendor displays and breakout sessions with speakers on subjects such as veterans benefits, prescriptions, housing options for those who can no longer remain in their home, fall prevention and financial exploitation.

Read the full article online here


Interview featuring Laura Dake of ITNBluegrass, describing how ITN works and the benefits of using the ITN

June 4, 2012

January 30 Driver Workshop will feature the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging

January 25, 2012

Please join ITNBluegrass for what should be a very interesting Driver Workshop!

Social worker Marie Smart from UK’s Sanders-Brown Center on Aging will speak to us about what the Center’s mission is, what research on aging it is conducting and what services it offers to the community. The workshop will be held on Monday, January 30, from 9:30-10:30 am at the ITNBluegrass office (1206 N Limestone Street, Lexington, KY 40505).

As always, we’ll serve a light breakfast and draw for a door prize. This is a great opportunity to learn a little something as well as meet other drivers!

To RSVP, please call Laura at 859-351-0460 or send her an email at

ITNBluegrass proudly nominates Stan Wonn as its candidate for the Max and Helen Israelite 2011 Volunteer of the Year Award.

October 29, 2011

Stan Wonn

ITNBluegrass proudly nominates Stan Wonn as its candidate for the Max and Helen Israelite 2011 Volunteer of the Year Award. Stan exemplifies what it means to be a volunteer by serving in numerous capacities within ITNBluegrass. He started as a volunteer driver in December 2008 and by the time he was asked to become a board member in May 2009, he had logged more than 1,000 miles! (He has since logged an additional 2,000+ miles!)

Stan’s talents truly came to light when he was nominated ITNBluegrass Board Chair in June 2010. We are reminded of the qualities of the ITNAmerica mascot when we think of Stan – a head for business, a non-profit heart and a willingness to work. Not to mention the spark plug! Under Stan’s leadership, our board has been revitalized and reinvigorated, and there is a renewed emphasis on running ITNBluegrass as a business. Stan has introduced several new committees – Audit, Development and Policies and Procedures, to name a few – and meets with each of the committee chairs regularly to assess progress. A major project Stan plus other board members and staff undertook in summer 2010 was to write a detailed business plan for ITNBluegrass. This was a huge amount of work but we are the better for it as it gives us increased credibility with potential funders.

And just a few weeks ago, the ITNBluegrass board approved an extensive HR manual for the office. While it was based on a template from an established business, it took hours to edit it for our small non-profit and get it into final.

Other initiatives Stan is working on are the Executive Director transition and a security policy for ITNBluegrass data (tax records, personnel records, etc.). Stan’s background is in IT; his last job before retiring from Ashland (Oil), Inc. after 45 years of service was as Manager of Global Network and Computing Information Security. Following the events of September 11, 2001, Stan was one of just a few corporate security officers who participated in the development of the US Homeland Security Department.

Now the non-profit heart. Stan says he enjoys volunteering because he “has a sense that we should all contribute to making things better, especially while we are still physically capable.” He has also shared that he is passionate about ITN’s mission because his own mother lost her ability to drive and that “on many occasions she just wouldn’t go [somewhere] rather than impose. As a result her ability to live life to the fullest was very limited.” Stan certainly appreciates the difficulties facing those who have given up driving and wants to help older people in our community overcome those difficulties.

Finally, Stan and his wife Dana also fold, stamp and mail our billing statements…every month! Maybe not the thing to end on, but certainly an illustration of “willing to work!”

Stan is truly deserving of the honor of Volunteer of the Year.

Stan Wonn
(l-r) Ride Coordinator Barbara Warburton, rider Ethel Tate and Board Chair Stan Wonn. Mrs. Tate was honored as the recipient of ITNBluegrass’ 10,000th ride!

ITNBluegrass Community Org of the Night at recent Legends game!

May 2, 2011

Executive Director Gale Reece, board chair Stan Wonn and his wife Dana enjoyed an evening at a Lexington Legends AA baseball game with ITNBluegrass as the featured nonprofit of the night. Not only did ITNBluegrass have an information table, Gale was interviewed from the field at the beginning of the game, Stan threw out the first pitch, then Gale shared the ITN story on the radio during the bottom of the 5th inning. A good time was had by all!

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