May 11, 2004 > DORA DARE
by onnie Petrolina
Sounds like a 40's movie star, doesn't she? Well, she could have been! Dora, 74, is a youthful, pretty, petite lady. In a conversation about our ages, someone asked her why she looks so much younger. "I don't know," she replied, "I laugh a lot."
Dora lives in her own home in North Fremont, but she doesn't drive. That ended about 12 years ago when Dora suffered a severe stroke. She had to learn how to walk and talk all over again - and she did! Then her husband, Ben, became ill and she was the overseer of his care for two years before he passed away four years ago. They had been married for fifty years.
Dora found herself alone and depressed. Her son, an avid community service volunteer, suggested she call the City of Fremont and she began to provide volunteer Cantonese translation for the City. It was during this time that she heard about the Vanners - a group trip program designed for seniors who don't drive. We pick up the seniors at their homes (wheelchairs, canes and walkers accepted) and go out to IHOP, Denny's, Baldies - wherever- to socialize and have lunch with someone for a change. Dora has been part of the group for four years.
"The first time I was going to go on the van I thought I would not be accepted; but when I stepped on board and saw Beulah's smile, I knew I was home," Dora says.
The Vanners program is part of the City's paratransit program administered by the City of Fremont Human Services Department using funding from Measure B, the countywide transportation sales tax.