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Muskego - The Muskego Senior Taxi is looking for people who want to have a feel good-experience by helping others.

The taxi needs additional volunteer drivers to meet the increasing demand for rides especially from young adults with disabilities who are seeing growing opportunities for job training and job placements, said Karin Nickel, senior taxi executive director. Two years ago, the taxi averaged 200 rides per month. The number had grown to almost 400 for the month of August.

"We will be unable to meet the growing number of requests without additional volunteer drivers," she said. Already, the Muskego Taxi has turned away a young man who was offered training at Steinhafel's, Nickel said.

Not only potential riders, but potential volunteers are missing out. "Everyone should feel this good after helping out," said Pati Greenlees who has driven for the taxi for six years.

She says she has a sense of satisfaction from both volunteering and from the relationships she has with her passengers.

Rides to work

One of the regular Muskego Senior Taxi passengers is young Justin Kuehl who relies on the taxi to take him to work and home.

"I am proud to be working in my community. I work at Walmart in Muskego and really like it," he said. "It makes me feel good about myself.."

"I am grateful to the volunteers because, if not for their help, I would not be able to work," Kuehl said.

One of those volunteers is Mike Manthy who has driven for the taxi for more than four years. It has been time beautifully spent, he said.

After an average day of taking at least eight seniors or young adults with disabilities where they need to go, he said, "You look back at your day and feel pretty good."

Beyond transportation

The kindness of the volunteers has an impact on those they don't even see.

Jane Matusinec, the mother of a young man who rides the taxi, said, "It makes my workday a lot less stressful, knowing I don't have to stop what I'm doing to go pick him up." And the rides her son gets take him beyond his geographical destination. They take him to a feeling of independence, she said, because he is able to use the taxi.

"I don't know what we'd do without it." Matusinec said.

For many senior riders, the taxi offers an alternative to burdening their loved ones.

To Colleen Pagelsdorf, a former childcare teacher who lost her leg in a motorcycle accident 20 years ago, it means not having to ask her husband to take off work to drive her to stores or to doctor's appointments, she said.

Diane Gray also knows she is getting more than just a ride.

"The sense of independence I feel when riding with the taxi and not being a burden to my children because I cannot drive," she said.

How it works

Volunteers decide if they want to drive a full day or a half day and anywhere from one day a week to one day a month. Some also volunteer are on call.

Drivers should be 21 years old and have a clean driving record. Drivers use he Senior Taxi's four-door sedans to pick up riders who must be ambulatory, so no wheelchair lifting or client lifting is involved.

There are a few other things the volunteers have.

"They need a generous heart, a positive spirit, and patience for people with special needs," Nickel said.

More information about volunteering is available at (262) 679-4754 or muskegoseniortaxi@yahoo.com.

Fundraisers coming

Senior taxi has a couple of fundraisers coming up.

One is Oktoberfest to be held Thursday, Oct. 27, at the Aud-Mar Banquet Hall/Bass Bay Brewhouse, S79 W15851 Aud Mar Drive, Muskego. The evening will include music, beer tasting from Wisconsin breweries, German appetizers, and soft drinks which are included with each ticket. A cash bar will be available.

There also will be a silent auction and raffle.

Advance tickets at $30 are available until Oct. 15 by calling the senior taxi office, 262-679-4754.  Admission will be $35 at the door.

Net proceeds will benefit the Muskego Senior Taxi Service, a 501(c)(3) organization.

The other fundraiser is a Nov. 12 bake sale. Bakers who don't want to drive can help out by baking something special and bringing it to the taxi office, W181 S8540 Lodge Blvd., between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Nov. 10 or 11. The sale will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. as part of the Muskego Regency Craft Fair at the same location.

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