Personal Interaction draws Volunteer to Driving Passengers


Mahatma Gandhi hit at the very soul of volunteerism when he said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” This pearl is echoed by Verona volunteer driver Chris Dusk, who knew that when she retired she “still wanted to have an opportunity to interact with people outside my home, to have something outside of me, to give back and do something for others.”


After 30-year career in product development, Dusk was seeking a volunteer role and found her niche as a volunteer driver for the Driver Escort program in Verona Senior Center. A self-proclaimed introvert, she embraced the experience of driving seniors to their medical appointments. “This is easy to do,” Dusk said. “You show up and give them a ride and it’s a really good opportunity to get to know people a little. To get to know their history, their stories and experiences.”


Having empathy for seniors who have lost their personal transportation and must rely on others, she stresses the convenience and functionality of this service for passengers and goes on to share, “I’ve never once had a bad experience. I receive the benefit of meeting someone new, learning about them and in the process, about myself. It doesn’t require much of you, and you get more back that it takes to do it.”


Having dealt with logistics and operations during her years in product development, the logistics of operating without a vehicle resonated with Dusk once again, when during the pandemic she delivered groceries to people who did not have a way to pick up groceries themselves at The River Food Pantry.


Following her lifelong love of sewing, she also serves as the RSVP Group Project Liaison for the Monona Group Projects volunteers and loves having a destination to donate her quilts and other handmade items.


Dusk is an avid reader, who reads 3-4 books a week! Add to that, she has a huge garden and during harvest time has so many tomatoes she makes a pot of sauce about every 3-4 days. Outdoor adventures were always a part of her and her husband Rick’s lives, although less so now, they would more often than not be found canoeing, tent camping, or hiking. In fact, their move away from their early married life in Chicago was to Hudson, WI and was designed so they could both work in the Twin Cities, but still have access local waterways and to the Boundary Waters!


The Verona Driver Escort and Vets Helping Vets programs needs drivers to provide transportation to medical appointments for area seniors and veterans. Drivers are offered reimbursement at .56 cent/mile and provided with additional liability insurance. RSVP provides PPE supplies. Drivers must be vaccinated and starting October 15, this will be a requirement for passengers as well. The service operates weekdays, 8:30am to 3:30 pm.


For more information, contact Mary Schmelzer at mschmelzer@rsvpdane.org or 608-441-7896.