COG wins national transportation award

  • Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A transportation program for seniors and adults with disabilities in Georgetown, Williamsburg and Horry counties has won a national innovation award.

The Waccamaw Regional Council of Governments (WRCOG) received the 2014 Innovation Award from the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) Research Foundation for its program called Assisted Rides, according to Sarah Smith, executive director for WRCOG.

“The WRCOG is committed to grow the Assisted Rides Program and to serve the needs of the elderly and disabled in our region,” Smith said.

“The program specifically addresses the unmet transportation needs of all adults 60 years of age or older, and age 21 and older with a disability, in the three counties it serves.”

The Assisted Rides Program recruits, screens, and trains local volunteers who agree to provide transportation, in their own privately insured vehicles, to qualified individuals seeking transportation.

“Destinations include medical appointments, grocery shopping, pharmacy visits, worship services, social events, social services and other destinations they may need to help them remain connected to their community and live independently at home as long as possible,” Smith stated.

With help from the Lt. Governor’s Office on Aging, the WRCOG employs a Mobility Manager who utilizes a web based software program, Ride Scheduler, to match riders with volunteer drivers in their area of the county.

“The WRCOG also shares this software with other community service organizations and partners who use it to enter ride requests and monitor their status,” Smith said.

“From the program’s inception in January 2013, local volunteers have provided seniors with over 5,500 rides, totaling more than 430,000 miles.”

NADO President Peter Gregory, executive director of the Two Rivers-Ottauquechee Regional Commission in Woodstock, Vt., said, “For 28 years, NADO’s Innovation Awards have recognized regional development organizations for their hard work and commitment to promoting economic development in rural and small metropolitan communities across the country.

“Award recipients have created innovative solutions that build on the unique strengths and challenges of their regions, all while continuing to promote sustainable economic growth not only now, but for many years to come,”

NADO is a Washington, D.C.-based association that promotes programs and policies that strengthen local governments, communities, and economies through regional cooperation, program delivery, and comprehensive strategies, according to a press release.

The association’s Innovation Awards program recognizes regional development organizations and partnering organizations for improving the economic and community competitiveness of our nation’s regions and local communities.

Award winners will be showcased during NADO’s 2014 Annual Training Conference, August 23 to 26 in Denver, Colo.

If you are interested in volunteering, or would like more information about this award-winning project, contact the Waccamaw Regional Council of Governments at -843-546-8502.

For more about WRCOG, visit wrcog.org.

For more information about NADO, visit NADO.org.

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