OCEAN CITY – Councilman Brent Ashley has announced he is going to volunteer to fill some large shoes.
“Since the passing last February of Mr. Bob Melvin, the Bob Melvin MEDTRN program has been without an advocate,” Ashley said. “While I could never fill Mr. Melvin’s shoes nor match his commitment or enthusiasm, I believe it is vitally important that the MEDTRN program continue to provide this necessary and much deserved service for those in our community that need it the most. Without this service, many would most likely not be able to see their health care providers. To me, continuing this service is not an option but the responsibility of us all.” A few years ago, Melvin spearheaded Medical Appointment Transportation (MEDTRN), which is a transit system transporting senior citizens, the handicapped and veterans to medical appointments locally and to surrounding areas.
“I thought I would volunteer for that position now that Mr. Melvin is gone and there is no advocate for the program, and he worked so hard to get it started and get it implemented, and then to make it successful,” Ashley said on Wednesday. “I think it’s very, very necessary and important service that we offer, a lot of people in town they can’t afford to get to their healthcare providers without this program.”
As Ashley steps into his new position he said he is going to focus on keeping MEDTRN’s account well established by collecting donations and searching for grants.
The town provides the bus and driver but all other expenses are covered through the service. It is a $5 charge each way to use MEDTRN but for those who can’t afford it they can apply for a voucher to cover the fare.
“Without somebody pushing it and trying to get donations and grants … it would eventually run down and there wouldn’t be any money available to cover the voucher system,” Ashley said. “Somebody has to do it and if we don’t take care of our own citizens particularly the ones that need it the most, what good are we really.”