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Transportation Program: accessible van

Mountain State Centers for Independent Living Receives Grant from 1st and 10 Foundation

Mountain State Centers for Independent Living receives grant from the 1st and 10 Foundation in the amount of $22,000 to help purchase two badly needed accessible vans.

1st and 10 Foundation

Chad and Robin Pennington created the 1st and 10 Foundation in 2003 with the mission to build stronger communities by funding programs and institutions that seek to improve quality of life throughout southern West Virginia and the Tri-State area as well as East Tennessee. The Foundation tells us that they are pleased to be able to provide funds to purchase the vans for Mountain State Centers for Independent Living.

Chad Pennington, now retired, was a quarterback for the Marshall University football team and a pro player for the New York Jets and the Miami Dolphins.

Read more about the 1st and 10 Foundation.

Accessible Vans

People with disabilities who do not have access to public transportation can continue to take classes, attend events, and participate in advocacy related events at Mountain State Centers for Independent Living.

Mountain State has provided accessible transportation for people with disabilities for more than 30 years. The vans are used to transport people who are consumers of services at Mountain State to the Huntington and Beckley centers for independent living skills trainings, training and education necessary to transition to the workforce, and to participate as advocates with other advocacy organizations in WV and during sessions in Charleston.

The vans being replaced were originally purchased in 1999 and each had over 175,000 miles. They were breaking down often and Mountain State was incurring high costs to repair and generally maintain the vans. There was also the safety concern of driving passengers in a van that could break down in an isolated area or on the highway with no safe place to turn off.

WV Department of Public Transit through the Federal Transportation Administration helps communities provide transportation under Section 5310 of the Federal Statutes for Transportation Discretionary Grants. Section 5310 would cover 80% of the cost to replace the vans, but Mountain State needed a 20% match. The 1st and 10 Foundation provided the match.

With improvements in technology, the new vans operate more efficiently, are quiet riding, better insulated, chairs are automatic, tie downs are sturdier and the lifts are so quiet they are no longer a noise nuisance. The new technology provides better safety and rideability for driver and passengers.

Mountain State is looking forward to offering more consistent and safer rides to people with disabilities in order to continue independent living education as well as allow people with disabilities to participate as productive members of their community.

Stories of People Using Mountain State Van Service

Eric, due to a severe disability, is unable to work, and volunteers his time at the Beckley center. He is a member of the Consumer Advocacy and Advisory Committee and takes every opportunity to educate people in his community about Mountain State and the services available.

Kristy, a person with a disability, is now able to attend classes to prepare for the workforce and has set a goal to be employed within the next six months.

Wayne, a person with a disability, is living in a nursing home. Wayne has set a goal to live independently within the next year. To prepare to live independently, he is riding the van to Mountain State to take life skills training courses.

To learn more about this service at Mountain State, visit the Transportation Services page.

Some names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.

Mountain State Centers for Independent Living