Scugog volunteers driven to help

Community Care Durham office in need of help with driving service

Port Perry Star
By Chris Hall

PORT PERRY -- The two men sit side by side on the couch, laughing and talking over each other. Every joke at the other’s expense is accompanied with a kind elbow to the ribs.

Stuart McEntyre and Barry Judges act like they’re old friends. They certainly get along like life-long pals.

But the two Port Perry men met by chance about a year ago when Mr. McEntyre, 83, contacted the Scugog office of Community Care Durham when he needed help getting to various appointments due to his increasing health concerns.

That’s when Mr. Judges drove into his life. comm care trans 

We’re really in a dire need for volunteer drivers. It’s our biggest and most requested service. Lorrie Houston Recently retired and always someone with a desire to help others, Mr. Judges made contact with Community Care to volunteer his time. He was soon partnered up with Mr. McEntyre, chauffeuring the former minister to doctors’ visits, the pharmacy and wherever else he needs to go.

“We have an excellent relationship. When we get together, we hardly stop talking,” said Mr. McEntyre recently.

“You hardly stop talking,” corrected Mr. Judges, which causes both men to start laughing.

Mr. McEntyre knew of Community Care during his church days when some members of his flock were volunteer drivers, but acknowledged it’s a different feeling picking up the phone and asking for help.

“I reached out to Community Care and I was absolutely astounded by how wonderful a service it was,” said Mr. McEntyre. “I was aware of it, but it’s another thing to be a recipient of their services.”

Mr. Judges accompanies Mr. McEntyre into his doctors’ appointments, where he listens to and scribbles down the physicians’ orders. He then runs into the pharmacy to pick up Mr. McEntyre’s prescriptions and later updates the former minister’s wife on any developments.

“It’s kind of a symbiotic relationship: He gets a lot from me and I get a lot from him,” said Mr. Judges of his time with Mr. McEntyre. “It’s kind of a selfish feeling because after helping him and leaving, I feel great.”

The relationship between the two men is special and not something Community Care officials expect from each client-volunteer pairing.

Mr. Judges goes above and beyond what is required of volunteer drivers, explained Lorrie Houston, administrator of Community Care’s Scugog office.

“You can set your level of involvement,” she said. “We really try to respect their time limits.”

Casual volunteers are asked to commit two or three hours at least one day a week (Mondays to Fridays only) to drive a variety of Community Care clients.

The trips could be short local jaunts, to a doctor’s appointment or haircut in Scugog or Oshawa, or perhaps a long-distance trip to Toronto.

Volunteers are paid 38 cents per kilometre and Community Care also covers the fees for securing the police background check and driver’s abstract that is required.

There is a daily need for volunteer drivers to help the 500 or so clients in Scugog who request the service.

“We’re really in a dire need for volunteer drivers. It’s our biggest and most requested service,” said Ms. Houston.

Mr. Judges is certainly happy with the decision he made to help Community Care.

“You get so much out of it for yourself,” he said.

“I’ve had a great life and a successful career... I’ve been blessed in my life and there’s a lot of people who haven’t. If I can help make a difference, I will,” continued Mr. Judges. “You feel good, you really do. It makes a big difference in your life, too.”

For more information or to volunteer to become a driver, call the Scugog office of Community Care Durham at 905-985-8461 or 905-985-0150.

This story first appeared in The Port Perry Star on July 24, 2013 and is reposted here courtesy of Metroland Media Group's Durham Region Division and durhamregion.com.  To access the story on the durhamregion.com website, please click  HERE.