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Making a Difference: A drive to volunteer

Curative Connections volunteer driver Robin Last assists passenger Kate Parizek. (WLUK)

BROWN COUNTY (WLUK) -- If you’re looking for a lift in Brown County, a fleet of volunteers may be able to help you out.

Robin Last spent his working days as a chief financial officer for a company in Northeast Wisconsin. And his talents are still making a difference now that he's retired.

For the past two and a half years, Last has been opening doors and improving the lives of people like Kate Parizek.

Last is a volunteer driver with Curative Connections. The local not-for-profit offers services geared toward seniors and those who are living with disabilities.

"When I was working, I always wanted to do something on a volunteer basis, give back to the community a little bit, but I never had the time to do that when you're working," says Last.

At $3 for a one-way trip, passengers can go door to door anywhere in Brown County.

Last is one of about 100 volunteers. They log around 5,000 rides and 42,000 miles a month.

For many, it's about making friends as much as making appointments.

"For a lot of them also, it's a social aspect," says Tina Whetung, Curative Connections Transportation Manager. "Some of them live alone. We know they don't have other family members. They'll get in the vehicle with the driver and say, 'Can you take the long way to my appointment? It's been a while since I've been out and I'd like to see what new is going on in town.'"

Kate Parizek uses the transportation services on a regular basis. "You just get to have so much fun and it's just like a little family," says Parizek. "Right now there's just the three of us and the driver and we just have a ball in the bus."

But for everything the clients are getting out of the service, Last says he's getting a lot out of it too.

"It just makes your heart feel good when people tell you how grateful they are for this service and they wouldn't be able to get around without us," says Last. "And that's good enough for me."

"Think about volunteering because you meet incredible people like me." chuckles Parizek.

If you’d like to find out more about the Curative Connections Transportation Program, either as a passenger or volunteer driver, click the link or call (920) 227-4272.

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