Craig To seniors living in Maybell, the vehicle used for trips to Craig is a lifeline, a means to stop at the doctor and dentist, as well as shopping centers. The bus will pick residents up at their homes, and it occasionally takes groups on field trips to Browns Park or Steamboat Springs.
When the time came to replace the old "Sagebrush Shuttle," as it had been named some time ago, residents stepped in and organized fundraisers to show their support.
"We raised $5,000 ourselves," senior volunteer Charlene Scott said. "The bus makes trips to Craig every Tuesday and is very important to all riders."
The bus carries seniors and handicapped individuals to Craig on its weekly visits, and usually is loaded with about 14 people, rider Frances Kiser said.
"I've ridden the bus longer than anybody down here," she said. "We have the best driver. It's so nice to have that bus."
Kaiser was among the dozen in attendance Monday morning at the Maybell Community Center when a new 20-passenger vehicle was delivered to the seniors.
The 2007 Ford van is quite an improvement compared to the 1988 model, and that had people waiting for the first ride around the block.
As executive director for the Moffat County Housing Authority, Keith Antonson has the task of driving the vehicle from Breckenridge to Maybell.
"It's got an upgraded heater for Maybell winters," he said. "The bottom step is heated, and three seats fold away for wheelchair access."
The Maybell community worked on securing a new bus for the seniors, and they deserve much of the credit for the new vehicle, Antonson said.
"They spent more than a year working on it," he said. "They had incredible local support with bus contributions. They worked hard for that bus."
Moffat County secured a Department of Local Affairs grant for $3,500 to apply to the new senior bus, and Maybell contributed $5,500. The Craig Kiwanis, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4265, City Market and United Way also made donations to the purchase. The balance was paid, in part, by the sale of the old Sagebrush Shuttle vehicle.
Shuttle bus driver Dave O'Conor said he looks forward to driving the new rig, and will continue to volunteer to drive seniors to their destinations.
But, he also has a place in his heart for the old bus.
"They had a contest to name it the Sagebrush Shuttle," he said. "It's kind of like an old pair of shoes, wearing out just as it gets comfortable. I'll miss the old girl."
What won't be missed is the recent break-downs by the old bus, which occurred several times this summer, riders said.
Dan Olsen can be reached at 824-7031, ext.207, or email@example.com