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A Journey of Love and Support: Ray and Doreen’s Via Story

“Without Via, I wouldn’t be able to see Doreen as often as I do. It’s our lifeline,” Ray shares.

Ray, an Air Force veteran, and Doreen, his English bride, share a love that spans oceans and decades. When Ray’s stroke mandated the end of his driving days, Via stepped in, not just as a service but as a lifeline, allowing him to visit Doreen in her memory care facility regularly.

An elderly couple, Doreen and Ray, are smiling in an indoor setting, Doreen is seated in a wheelchair and Ray is kneeling beside her. Doreen is wearing a red sweater, blue jeans, and black shoes, while holding a framed black-and-white photograph of the couple. Ray is wearing a gray sweater with a logo, black pants, and gray sneakers. There's a kitchen area in the background.

Doreen holds a photo of their wedding while posing with Ray. They were married when they were 21 years old.

A Lifelong Bond

Ray, a dedicated husband, relies on Via Mobility Services to visit his beloved wife of 67 years, Doreen. He lives independently, and she resides in a memory care unit at an assisted living facility. Life had presented its challenges, notably when Ray experienced a stroke that led him to stop driving. However, his determination to maintain independence and dedication to Doreen never wavered. 

Via, a cornerstone of independence for many, plays a crucial role in Ray’s life. It is his bridge to Doreen, ensuring they continue sharing their days despite any obstacles. With Via’s accessible transportation service, he visits her multiple times weekly. Ray’s voice carries warmth as he reflects, “Via isn’t just a ride; it’s how I can be there for her, sharing every moment we can.”

Cherishing Moments: Ray’s Dedicated Visits to Doreen

Ray is stepping off a Via shuttle bus, assisted by a driver, a woman in a blue Via jacket. Ray wears a gray jacket, beige pants, a white cap, and is holding a blue tumbler and a blue bag with a logo. The side of the white bus has a blue and green wave-like Via logo . It is daytime and the ground is dry with some grass and leaves visible to the side.

Via Paratransit driver, Mary, helps Ray off the bus.

Our recent ride-along with Ray to visit Doreen showed a glimpse into his routine. His first stop at the facility is always the menu board, checking to see if Doreen will enjoy her meals. If they are serving a food she doesn’t like, he’ll get her a special order hot dog, cut it up into bite-sized pieces, and top it with a special stash of relish he keeps just for her. He stocks her fridge with her favorite ice cream. Ray does everything he can to ensure she’s comfortable and cared for.

Doreen lights up when Ray shows up at the door. They spend time together in the courtyard and reminiscing about meeting when Ray was stationed in Doreen’s native England and family camping trips on weekends in New Hampshire.

From Air Force to Family Life

As a young man, Ray was in the Air Force and played a crucial role in controlling satellites, some of which were significant for weather research. He was stationed in England when he met Doreen. They married and moved to the Lowry Airforce base in Colorado in 1972. They raised two children, Dean and Kim, and welcomed grandchildren and great-grandchildren to the world.

Ray’s post-military life was equally dynamic, marked by his pursuit of a degree in recreation, planning to become a park ranger and a surprising shift toward criminal justice. This pivot led him to a fulfilling career as a probation officer for 11 years. Ray’s adventurous spirit soared in retirement as he took to the skies, piloting small aircraft from Erie to Greeley, humorously recounting his quests for a “$100 hamburger.”

Ray is seated on a red bus seat, buckled in with a seat belt, and smiling at the camera. He is wearing a gray jacket, black pants, light blue socks, and gray sneakers. He sports a white cap with the word "ALASKA" on it. The bus interior is visible, with bright sunlight coming through the windows, and the exterior environment reflects suburban scenery.Embracing Technology: Ray Utilizes Via’s Self-Service Portal for Visits

Ray scheduled his next trip with Via to visit Doreen using our new Self-Service Portal. It’s convenient to plan trips online up to a week in advance reliably. Via is more than a service; it’s a promise of presence for those like Ray, who give so much to the community and ask only for the chance to maintain the relationships that define their lives.

Bridging Connections: The Heart of Via’s Mission

Via’s services profoundly impact the well-being and emotional support of riders like Ray and their families. Ray generously donates to Via to help other riders like him have the independence to visit with loved ones. It is not just about providing a ride; it’s about sustaining the bonds that make life worth living.

Via is a community lifeline for thousands of riders. For every story like Ray and Doreen’s, a need goes unmet. Via faces an $8 shortfall per ride after all reimbursements. This gap represents more than numbers; it is the difference between together and apart for people who rely on us.

Ray is assisted by Via driver Mary as they walk side by side toward the assisted living facility where Doreen resides. It's a building with a covered entrance. Ray is wearing a gray jacket, black pants, and gray sneakers with blue accents. He has a white cap on his head. Mary is wearing a blue jacket and navy blue pants with white shoes. It's a calm and clear day.

Via Paratransit driver Mary assists Ray as they approach the assisted living facility where Doreen resides.

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