Jmar Eduarte

ACS unveils new accessible vehicle

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) has received its long-awaited new accessible vehicle and unveiled it last Tuesday afternoon.

The non-profit agency, which has had to go much of the year shorthanded in the vehicle department, debuted its new vehicle at a media event at JFA, located at the corner of Alma St. and Renaud Dr. The new accessible vehicle has room for eight passengers and two wheelchairs and cost nearly $80,000, with approximately $57,000 of that covered by Concours Mold Inc. and the Goggin family.

“We are grateful to Concours Mold, the Goggin family and all of those who donated,” said Kathy DiBartolomeo, executive director with ACS.

DiBartolomeo said 2018 started on a difficult note for ACS as they had to take vehicles off the road due to their age and the condition of the vehicles.

“Now, it’s ending on a high note,” said DiBartolomeo.

The new accessible vehicle, coupled with a recent donation of a van thanks to a group of car dealerships and realtors, has brought the ACS vehicle fleet back to where they want it.

The new accessible vehicle will help seniors and those with mobility issues get to appointments locally or in Windsor with DiBartolomeo noting that arrangements can be made to accommodate a caregiver as well. The vehicle is now in service and members of the public who need it can call 519-736-5471 for information or to book a ride.

“This vehicle will allow us to run with greater efficiency,” said DiBartolomeo.

Amherstburg Community Services unveiled its new accessible vehicle Nov. 27. The vehicle was purchased with help from donations, including a combined $57,000 from the Goggin family and Concours Mold. From left: Concours deputy chief financial officer (CFO) Kenny Goggin, ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo, Concours corporate HR manager Tiffany Huson and Concours marketing specialist Jmar Eduarte.

Kenny Goggin, deputy chief financial officer (CFO) with Concours Mold Inc., said it will be exciting to watch the accessible vehicle drive around Amherstburg and the surrounding area knowing that people are using it and having a better quality of life.

“It will be exciting to see it driving down the road helping people who don’t have use of transportation as freely,” he stated.

Goggin recalled getting a number of messages earlier in the year about the vehicles, noting that one was from a daughter of a Concours employee that dropped out of school after ACS’s student shuttle was temporarily taken off the road.

“When it was announced the bus was coming, she was extremely excited to go back to school,” said Goggin.

Two seniors who use ACS’ transportation services were thrilled with the unveiling of the new vehicle.

“I think this is just wonderful what these people have done for us,” said June Fox. “I’m 92-years-old and I’m proud of it. This organization is just wonderful, and I can always depend on them.”

“I’m just grateful for these people,” added Carolyn Belisle. “I use (ACS’ transportation services) often. I don’t know where I would be without it.”

For further information on ACS, call them or visit their office at 179 Victoria St. S. People can also get information on their transportation service or any of the other services ACS offers, visit www.amherstburg-cs.com.

ACS to get new accessible vehicle thanks to local family

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) will be re-adding an accessible vehicle to its fleet thanks to a local family and an area company.

The Goggin family of Amherstburg donated $32,000 to ACS’ accessible vehicle fundraising campaign. That money, on top of the $18,000 raised by ACS, brought the total to $50,000 and by reaching that amount, it triggered the Concours Mold Challenge.

Concours Mold Inc. pledged to donate $25,000 if the community could raise the first $50,000 towards a new $75,000 accessible vehicle.

Kenny Goggin, deputy chief financial officer (CFO) with Concours Mold Inc., stated that when the company heard that ACS had to take a vehicle off the road due to maintenance issues, they issued the challenge to bring the community together and fundraise for a new accessible vehicle. A second vehicle had to be removed from the road earlier this summer.

“(ACS executive director) Kathy (DiBartolomeo) and the team do a great job,” said Kenny. “Amherstburg really came together.”

Kenny said that his family wanted to make the large donation to trigger the challenge after learning of news reports that pointed out that the St. Clair College student shuttle wouldn’t be offered for the fall semester by ACS due to a shortage of vehicles. The service will be able to be restored thanks to the new vehicle.

Goggin credited his mother Joanne for the family’s donation. In a statement, Joanne Goggin said the family – which also consists of Mark, Dennis and Jmar as well as Kenny and herself – hope to see their donation inspire others in the community to support the services ACS provides.

“When we saw that ACS was having difficulty raising funds for the new van and heard the story about (another vehicle) breaking down, we knew we wanted to commit personally to completing this purchase,” Joanne stated. “This is a fantastic organization which has benefitted the senior community but many other groups in Amherstburg as well; we want these programs to flourish. Hopefully, our gift will inspire others to donate personally to continue the services ACS operates in this beautiful community we call home.”

Kenny said a number of employees at their Lakeshore plant come from Amherstburg, adding he was raised on Texas Road.

Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) will be able to purchase a new accessible vehicle thanks to the Goggin family and Concours Mold Inc. The Goggin family donated $32,000, which brought the fundraising total to $50,000. By reaching $50,000, Concours Mold Inc. donated the remaining $25,000 necessary to purchase the new vehicle. ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo accepts the $25,000 cheque from Concours’ deputy chief finanical officer Kenny Goggin (left) and marketing director Jmar Eduarte (right).

“We have employees whose children use the service,” he added.

Agreeing with his mother, Kenny stated that ACS has a lot of excellent services to help the communities they operate in and they hope to shine a light on them.

“I think more importantly is the work Kathy and her team do that goes unnoticed,” he said. “My family made sure these types of programs are highlighted.”

DiBartolomeo called the donations by both the Goggin family and Concours Mold Inc. “unbelievable” and said ACS is very grateful for them.

“I’m not sure words can describe just how important this is to us and to the rest of the community,” DiBartolomeo said. “So many people rely on our services to stay mobile, and those are the people this fundraising campaign has been for. On behalf of them and everyone else this donation will affect, thank you so much.”

ACS will be able to not only restore programming, but expand it as well, DiBartolomeo indicated. She said ACS will soon start recruiting volunteers to help those they help transport with getting on and off the bus and to help with such things as grocery shopping or helping out at medical appointments.

The new accessible vehicle will be able to transport ten walk-on travellers or two wheelchairs and six walk-on travellers. They are in the process of ordering the vehicle and hope to have it within three to six months.

Further announcements are expected in the coming weeks regarding the restoration of programming, such as the student shuttle.

“A very big thank you to Concours Mold Inc. and the Goggin family,” she emphasized.

People are still welcome to donate towards vehicle maintenance or any other program ACS offers, DiBartolomeo added.

“Although the challenge has been met, and we’re grateful for that, vehicle repairs and maintenance are always an issue for us,” she said. “It’s a priority we don’t let this (vehicle shortage) happen again.”

Amherstburg Community Services has provided accessible transportation services to seniors and other adults who qualify since 1989.  They began fundraising for this vehicle that the order went in for in February this year after one of their vehicles was deemed unsafe and removed from their fleet, with the second accessible vehicle being taken off the road in July.

For more information on ACS or to donate, visit their office at 179 Victoria St. S. or call 519-736-5471. Their website is www.amhertburg-cs.com. To “like” them on Facebook, visit www.facebook.com/AmherstburgCS and to follow them on Twitter, visit www.twitter.com/ACSAmherstburg.

 

Area business challenges community after $25,000 pledge for accessible bus

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) is continuing to fundraise for a new accessible vehicle and an area company wants to help the cause.

ACS is working to fundraise $75,000 for an accessible vehicle and Concours Mold Inc. has pledged $25,000 toward ACS’ goal. According to Kenny Goggin, an Amherstburg resident and deputy chief financial officer of Concours Mold Inc., this commitment comes as a challenge to other businesses and residents.

“We have such a generous community here in Amherstburg, but these are the kinds of challenges we need to stand up to face together,” Goggin said. “That’s why we’re issuing a challenge to othesr to come together in any way they can afford and help ACS reach their goal.”

Goggin and Concours Mold’s marketing director Jmar Eduarte met ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo about six weeks ago and the idea blossomed from there.

“She was telling us about the bus and that they were looking for sponsors,” said Goggin. “She needs $75,000 and we’re pledging $25,000 with the condition that the community steps up and contributes the other $50,000.”

There are many in the tool and die industry from Amherstburg and Eduarte pointed out it is also a challenge to those in the business to contribute as well

“Times are good in the tool and die industry,” said Goggin.

Noting their Amherstburg roots and the fact many of Concours’ employees also live in town, Goggin indicated it is a good time to give back.

Concours Mold is challenging other businesses and individuals in the area to donate to ACS’ fundraising campaign for a new accessible bus. The company pledged $25,000 last week. From left: Amherstburg
resident and Concours Mold deputy chief financial officer Kenny Goggin, ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo and Concours marketing director Jmar Eduarte.

“We want to make sure this gets done for the people of our town,” he said.

DiBartolomeo, says this commitment helps take a big chunk out of what they need to raise, but thinks there is still lots of work to be done.

“This is a phenomenal way to get the ball rolling but we’re not done yet,” said DiBartolomeo. “We still have a ways to go, but we’re confident that Amherstburg residents and businesses will do their part like they always do.”

After hosting a month long 50/50 draw and their annual SOUPer Wednesday event, as well as receiving several anonymous donations, ACS has raised over $7,000 to date, not including the $25,000 committed by Concours Mold Inc. Their goal is to raise $75,000 by the end of June and have planned several fundraisers to help them reach that goal.

DiBartolomeo said keeping their vehicles on the road can be a challenge. One of them had to be removed, which necessitated the fundraising campaign.

“The needs of the community are constantly there but the replacement dollars aren’t,” she said. “We hope others in the community step up.”

Bringing people to medical appointments and day-away programs is a service that is needed, she continued, adding that ACS also wants to avoid having seniors becoming isolated. Having accessible transportation can keep people in their homes longer and allows them to preserve their dignity, she said.

The fundraising campaign is also serving as a way to raise awareness of the many services ACS offers, DiBartolomeo added.

To keep up with the fundraisers Amherstburg Community Services is planning, or to learn more about opportunities to give, people are encouraged to contact ACS at 519-736-5471, visit www.amherstburg-cs.com and follow their social media pages including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Donations can also be dropped off at their office, located at 179 Victoria St. S. in Amherstburg.