Washington Co., WI – A simple gift from Peg Ziegler and her family have made a world of difference to the folks at Interfaith Caregivers of Washington County.
“Peg was one of our strong supporters and then she became our client and we took her to appointments,” said Interfaith executive director Janean Brudvig. “Peg eventually just got her own van but when she passed the family donated her wheelchair accessible van to Interfaith and that was such a tremendous gift.”
The vehicle had about 600 miles on… total. “This was a really huge gift,” said Brudvig. “It wasn’t a bare-bones vehicle either; it was totally equipped with a wheelchair ramp and just in fantastic shape.”
For years Interfaith Caregivers has been providing transportation to senior citizens who need rides to the doctor or clinic, to the Milwaukee VA Medical Center or Froedtert, and to the grocery store or food pantry.
AnnMarie Dufrasne of West Bend is a client at Interfaith. “I’m in an electric wheelchair and that’s difficult to transport in most vehicles,” she said. “If it weren’t for Interfaith, I wouldn’t be able to get to my appointments at St. Luke’s in Milwaukee.”
Dufrasne said the services provide by Interfaith are so valuable, but what she equally appreciates is the company and conversation. “The drivers are like family,” she said. “We jibber jabber; it’s almost like therapy.”
Hundreds of rides provided by a team of volunteers, most who are retired and looking to give back to the community.
Dick Stommel has been a volunteer driver at Interfaith for 15 years. “We get to know the people,” he said. “We learn about their kids and grandkids; they’re really not our clients they’re family.”
Stommel said the gift of the van from the Ziegler’s really means a lot. “There are so many people that depend on our service and we never have enough vans so to have a wheelchair vehicle is great,” he said.
Neighbors across Washington County see Interfaith’s signature white vans on the road constantly. “We’re traveling down to Milwaukee multiple times a day,” said Brudvig. “This is huge to have something brand new in our fleet.”
To show you the range of service of Interfaith and its volunteers, in September 2015 Stommel picked up WWII veteran Bill Wilde to take him to Mitchell Airport in Milwaukee so he could take part in the Stars & Stripes Honor Flight.
The dedication of the drivers at Interfaith is amazing. Stommel served in the Marines from 1961-64. He got up at 3:45 a.m. to deliver Wilde to the airport and then went back down to Milwaukee that event to bring a fellow veteran home.
The Board of Directors and volunteers at Interfaith Caregivers would like to give a heartfelt “Thank you” to the Ziegler family for its generous donation.