Jason and Nellie Zook have always wanted to go on the Salina Sights tours offered at Salina Presbyterian Manor. But they haven’t been able to because Presbyterian Manor’s van is not handicapped accessible.
That’s why the Zooks, who both use walkers, and others are contributing to a campaign to replace the 2002 Chevrolet El Dorado bus with one that has a lift. That will allow residents who use wheelchairs or who cannot climb stairs to get on board.
“I thought it would be nice if they would have a bus like that. I think it would be very important for a place like this to have,” Jason Zook said. “When they talked about getting the handicapped bus, I said, let’s just give something to help.”
A new 12-passenger bus will cost $65,000. Last fall, about $20,000 was raised at the soup supper, and another $6,500 has been received in private donations. That leaves a balance of about $38,000 to be raised by the goal date of May 1.
Dr. Mike Sloo, chairman of Presbyterian Manor’s advisory council, said he and other council members have made contributions toward the bus because it supports the core of Presbyterian Manor’s mission and vision.
“That means providing quality senior services and making a positive difference in the residents’ lives,” Sloo said. “We do have a transportation problem for groups that can only be filled by this type of bus.”
Residents Ernie and Arlene Hanzlicek know that many people would like to go to theater performances and concerts if they could ride the bus. But they’d also love to make a casino trip with a group from Presbyterian Manor. The Hanzliceks also made a donation so that more people can do what they want to do.
Group events also are a great way to foster connections among residents. Sloo said although it’s one of the biggest fundraisers Presbyterian Manor has attempted, he thinks meeting the goal will strengthen the camaraderie among residents, council members, and others who helped make it happen.
Executive Director Brad Radatz said he believes everyone who moves to Salina Presbyterian Manor should be able to continue living their lives the way they want to, by going out to dinner and attending events they have always enjoyed. “The new bus would enable more people to participate in those enjoyable outings,” Radatz said.
Zook agreed, and said that’s especially true for the residents to come later. “We weren’t just thinking of ourselves, but for other people to be able to go,” Zook said.