What started as a necessity for transportation has turned into a second family for one Craig man.
Jerry Ide, 80, first started using Moffat County Human Service Volunteers 2 1/2 years ago after heart bypass surgery. His doctor advised him not to drive, so he called the agency, which gives rides to those who cannot drive themselves or cannot afford other forms of transportation.
Ide uses the service three times a week to get to and from cardiac rehabilitation at The Memorial Hospital.
His daughter, Tracy Sheldon, with whom he lives on Lincoln Street, sees a definite need for the service.
"Tracy told me not too long ago that if I quit going there, I'd be dead soon," he said.
Sheldon confirmed that, noting Ide's physician, who said that if he stopped going to his treatment, his heart would fail. She works in Steamboat Springs and said the help of Human Service Volunteers has allowed her to keep her job. But, she said, the service does more than just keep him alive.
"They give my dad more than transportation," she said.
"They give him a social contact and an extended family."
Annie Reuer, the agency's coordinator, drives Ide often and has become a friend and part of his family. Sheldon and Reuer also have become close. They sing in Sweet Adelines together, and Sheldon is the godmother of Reuer's baby, Adisen.
Four days after Adisen was born, Reuer picked Ide up to let him see and hold the baby, because she knew he was eager to.
"That's going above and beyond," Sheldon said.
"She's very, very kind and very unselfish."
Reuer has been with the agency since June and drives her own vehicle to provide transportation to those in need.
She said she would drive people to appointments either in or out of town, going as far as Denver.
She also said the service schedule is flexible, though she requests three days notice for rides.
"But they can also call if it's the last minute, and we can see what we can do," she said. "I'm on call anytime, really."
Reuer said the service has no eligibility requirements or fees, though donations are welcome.
"I am certainly indebted to them," Ide said. "I wish I could give them more financial support.
"The surgery and sickness really got to me."
The majority of the organization's funds comes from the Moffat County United Way, which is holding its annual fund-raiser.
This year's goal is $320,000 and the campaign runs until Nov. 19. Tax-deductible contributions may be made by contacting the agency at 824-6222.
For transportation or more information about Human Service Volunteers, call Reuer at 846-0690.
Michelle Perry can be reached at 824-7031 or by e-mail at email@example.com.