Dougal Martin, volunteer dirver for the Mills.
Dougal Martin, volunteer driver for the Mills.

Volunteers really are the heart and soul of any charitable organization and Mills Community Support Corporation (the Mills) is no exception. Currently, over 200 volunteers give freely of their talents, their goodwill and their time to ensure that The Mills can provide quality services to over 1000 people living in Lanark County. It seems though, that there are never enough.

“We are always striving to provide quality services and supports that are so essential to ensuring that members of our community can live independently for as long as possible. Whether planning for the development of a new service or to supplement the volunteer staffing of our current programs, we are always in need of more volunteers. For example, at this time, we urgently need more drivers for our Seniors’ Services programming,” says Clem Pelot, Director, Community Supports and Services at the Mills.

We spoke to Dougal Martin, one of the volunteer drivers at the Mills, to find out what his volunteer driving job is all about.

 Question:          How did you get involved as a driver for the Mills?

 Answer:              My neighbour works here at the Mills and she recruited me. I had some time available and thought that this was something that I could do…and so here I am.

 Question:          What do you actually do as a driver for the Mills?

 Answer:              Essentially, I drive seniors, some of whom have physical disabilities.  I started by using my own vehicle to drive people to medical appointments and then was offered the opportunity to get a bus license through the Mills, so now I can also take groups on day trips and to attend other events. Our drivers also deliver the Meals on Wheels program daily to seniors who need the service.

 Question:          How much time do you spend volunteering?

Answer:              It really varies, based on my availability. Some weeks in the past I have done as many as 14 trips in a week long period, other weeks are much less taxing. It really depends on what time you have available as there are always people who need the service. You give the time you can.

 Question:          Why do you volunteer?

Answer:              I guess that it is really because of the people I get to meet and I meet a lot of them. You never know who is going to get into your car and sometimes you find some really interesting connections. For example, one day I met a woman who, through conversation, we determined had lived just down the street from me when I was in grade 5…in Longueuil, QC; another day, I had a woman in my car who recognized me as having coached her daughter in volleyball. I get to meet so many interesting people, really…veterans who have so many unique experiences. I really love the connections that I make and these people make me feel good. They need a drive now and I can provide it. Someday it may be me who will need that drive.

If you are interested in being a volunteer driver, or volunteering in any way with the Mills, please contact the Mills at (613) 256-1031.

Mills Community Support is a not-for-profit registered charity working towards achievement of an age-friendly community in which people of all abilities live in a state of dignity, share in all elements of living in a community and have the opportunity to participate effectively. We assist over 1,000 people of all ages, abilities, and economic circumstances to live as independently as possible for as long as possible.