In January 2006, a similar program was discontinued in the community. Involved with that program, Kathy Kasprowicz knew that the concept was too valuable to local seniors to just walk away from. Driven by a passion to see a transportation program continue, she approached friend/mentor, Marie Payes, about getting a new program taken on by a local church. They were turned down by several churches for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was liability (or the one that said they’d sponsor it, but all the drivers would have to become church members!).
It soon became apparent that in order for the program to succeed, they’d have to take it on themselves and create a stand-alone 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization. Key individuals were recruited, seed money was donated, an inaugural board of directors was organized, and Escorted Transportation Service Northwest officially opened its doors on September 1, 2006. By the end of the organization’s first 4 months, an amazing 400 round-trip rides had already been provided. The rest, as they say, is history.
2007 saw the organization’s first full Board of Directors meeting. Space became available at the Arlington Heights Senior Center and ETS/NW jumped at the chance to have the perfect place to call ‘home.’ Grants were written and funding was received from The Retirement Research Foundation, among others. The number of volunteers, passengers and rides continued to climb, ending the first full year of operation (2007) with a significant 1,861 round-trip rides being provided.
In 2011, the program had grown large enough to require additional staff and in September ETS’s first Executive Director was hired.
Several major events occurred in 2013 within the organization: 1) The 15,000th ride was provided; and 2) Kathy Kasprowicz retired after 7 years with the program.
On September 1, 2016 we kicked off our 10-year anniversary celebration with many activities including a thank-you party for our volunteer drivers, a display at the Arlington Heights Public Library, a fundraiser at Peggy Kinnane’s and riding in the Arlington Heights 4th of July parade.
ETS continues to grow. At the end of 2017, we have provided over 27,700 rides.
None of ETS successes would be possible without the wonderful volunteers. We owe our deepest gratitude to every single one of them. THANK YOU!
Here’s to the coming years of service….