VTC receives vehicle donated in memory of local woman

WATERTOWN, NY – The Volunteer Transportation Center has a new vehicle in its fleet thanks to the generosity of a Georgia woman in memory of her late aunt.

Victoria L. Fritz of Jasper, Ga., has donated a 2014 Hyundai Elantra to the Volunteer Transportation Center that was once owned by her aunt, Elaine D. Moulton. Ms. Moulton – a resident of the Evergreen Park mobile home community in Watertown for the past 50 years – passed away on March 19 at the age of 84.

When her aunt passed, said Ms. Fritz, their family discussed what to do with her aunt’s car. The decision involved a lot of thought, particularly since Ms. Moulton had only owned three cars in her entire life and she was very proud of them.

“There was some thought that just selling it was not the answer and giving it away to someone was not the answer either,” said Ms. Fritz. “Consequently, it was decided to donate it to a worthwhile cause.”

After doing some research, Ms. Fritz came upon the Volunteer Transportation Center.

“We were thrilled to get the call from Victoria,” said Jeremiah S. Papineau, the nonprofit organization’s Director of Communications and Foundation Director. “Hearing about how much it meant to her family that her aunt’s car go to a place that she would have loved to support, especially how she spent her life helping others, was very heartwarming.”

Ms. Moulton was a loving and charitable person, said Ms. Fritz. She was never married and did not have children of her own but treated everyone like family.

“She was not wealthy financially but she was definitely wealthy when it came to compassion and love,” said Ms. Fritz.  “Many times, she would help out when someone needed to run errands and they could not leave their loved one alone for any length of time. She would come keep them company and watch TV with them or just hold their hand and be with them.”

“Others needed rides to appointments for lab work, doctor visits or even grocery shopping,” she continued, noting her aunt was known to many as “Miss Elaine.” “She did not charge for these rides; she did it because she was so giving and the fact that she loved to drive her car. But she also took great pleasure in helping others. She was the most giving person I knew.”

“When Victoria told me about her aunt, especially about how she would give people rides when they were in need, it struck a chord,” said Mr. Papineau. “The more we talked, the more we knew the VTC would be a perfect home for her aunt’s car, to continue carrying out her acts of kindness.”

That’s a sentiment Ms. Fritz said her aunt would share.

“Elaine would rejoice in knowing that people were still able to get to their appointments when needed,” said Ms. Fritz, noting her aunt was a two-time cancer and stroke survivor and knew the importance of getting to crucial medical appointments. “She had many friends help her when she needed them and she strived to help others when they needed the assistance as her way of giving back.”

“Elaine would also be pleased that her car that she loved so much is being used for such a worthwhile purpose – the same purpose she used it for so many times,” she added. “In my heart and the hearts of our family and friends, we are so pleased that it is continuing to help others as she did.”

Ms. Fritz’s donation will now join the modest fleet of vehicles owned by the VTC, including five wheelchair-accessible vans and a mid-size SUV. While the majority of transportation provided through the VTC is by volunteers using their own vehicles and getting reimbursed for the miles they drive, many trips are conducted by volunteers and staff using VTC vehicles.

“We hope that many people have the opportunity to get to their appointments comfortably and safely because of this donation,” said Ms. Fritz. “I feel that I can take solace in knowing that this donation is helping others as she did, which will help me to process my grief of losing such an important person in my life.”

“Perhaps by our family giving this donation it will allow others to think of other creative ways they can contribute to help the organization,” she added.

“We cannot thank Victoria and her family enough for this generous donation,” said VTC Executive Director Sam Purington. “Most of all, we thank Elaine for all she did for people in her community. She strived to do exactly what we strive to do every day – help those in need and do our part to make the community a better place.”

Those interested in learning more about donating to the Volunteer Transportation Center may contact Mr. Papineau at 315-303-2590, send an email to foundation@volunteertransportation.org or visit www.volunteertransportationcenter.org.

ABOUT THE VOLUNTEER TRANSPORTATION CENTER

The Volunteer Transportation Center, Inc. (VTC), established in 1991, drives thousands of miles each year assisting community members in Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence Counties and beyond. Over the last 30 years, this essential non-profit organization has provided rides to health care appointments, food sources and other critical needs destinations for residents.

In 2021, VTC volunteer drivers provided 26,711 charitable trips over 1,073,435 miles in Jefferson, Lewis, and St. Lawrence Counties. Of those miles, 470,002 helped those in Jefferson County, 151,954 in Lewis County, and 451,479 in St. Lawrence County. That equated to approximately $477,679 in mileage reimbursement for our volunteers.

The staff, boards of directors and volunteer drivers look forward to a time when transportation to community activities and services is accessible to all North Country residents regardless of economic or specialized needs. But for now the mission drives on — striving to provide transportation to health, wellness and critical needs destinations utilizing volunteers and mobility management for anyone who has barriers to transportation.

For more information about how you can help the Volunteer Transportation Center, about its upcoming events, or to become a volunteer driver, contact the agency in Jefferson and Lewis Counties at 315-788-0422, in St. Lawrence County at 315-714-2034, in Oswego County at 315-644-6944, or Western New York at 585-250-5030. Volunteers drive their own cars, set their own hours and receive mileage reimbursement but, more importantly, make a difference in the community. To learn more, visit www.volunteertransportationcenter.org.