Feature image courtesy of Bob Grey.
Via Mobility Services Responds to NCAR Fire as a Second Responder
We believe freedom of movement is a basic human need.
At Via Mobility Services, our beliefs and values guide our actions in our community, including our work as a second responder for Boulder County.
Just as we helped evacuate people in danger from the Marshall Fire in 2021 and the CalWood and Lefthand Canyon Wildfires in 2020, Via also sprung into action to evacuate about 50 individuals with mobility limitations from the recent NCAR fire.
Starting on Saturday, March 26, concerns over a fire near NCAR rose as community members recalled the devastating impact of the Marshall Fire that we are still recovering from.
Always ready to serve, Lisa Bitzer, Via’s Director of Operations, arrived at Via’s Boulder headquarters soon after responding to a phone call from Danny O’Connor, the City of Boulder’s Transit Program Manager. Bitzer received phone calls from individuals requesting a ride to evacuation locations, out-of-state adult children concerned about their older parents, and the emergency responder community.
Via Operations Manager Adrianna Torres began dispatching and coordinating drivers from Via’s Via Paratransit, HOP, and FlexRide divisions to prepare to evacuate those in need.
Around 3:30 PM that day, Via received a request to evacuate about 50 people from MorningStar Assisted Living & Memory Care of Boulder, including people who use wheelchairs and their caregivers. Via drivers moved 26 evacuees to MorningStar locations in Parker and Centennial and helped them return to Boulder the next day when it was safe.
Photos courtesy of Philip May.
Via had eight vehicles on standby. While we only used four buses to evacuate, we believe in being well-prepared with enough resources to address sudden needs during a crisis as a reliable partner to our community.
Via drivers are the heart of our transportation services. We don’t require drivers to step up and assist in helping the community in times of crisis – they choose to help because they care.
We believe all people have a right to easily access the mobility options they need to enhance their independence and quality of life – including reliable second responder service. Via is a nonprofit organization positioned for the next decades of service with innovative programs and the necessary infrastructure to serve the growing populations of older adults, individuals with disabilities, and others living with mobility limitations.