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Helps keep buses running – Porter County Aging and Community Services newest team member

Written by Bruce Lindner. Posted in Featured, Senior Living

Published on May 06, 2015 with No Comments

Melinda Kersten is new to the PCACS transportation team. She helps answer the phones and put together the ride schedule

For Melinda Kersten, it’s like talking to her mom on the phone.

“Inevitably, I am aging and so are my parents. I try to approach each interaction with PCACS clients in a way that I would want someone to assist my parents. And that usually results in some smiles and laughter!” she said.

Melinda is new to the PCACS team working in the transportation department as a dispatcher and scheduler.

She helps answer the phones and schedule the rides for clients.

“You can find me in the transportation office in the afternoons – answering the phones and supporting the drivers from dispatch. When I’m not on the phone, I am preparing the schedule of buses for the next day,” she said.

“With more than 100 rides scheduled each day, it’s like putting together a giant puzzle to make sure that the drivers can get everyone to their appointments on time and back home again.”

Melinda said while scheduling rides may be challenging, she enjoys connecting seniors to needed services.

“I have to admit that it’s not always easy – some days I have to tell clients that our schedule is full and we won’t be able to give them a ride,” she said. “But, for the most part, they are happy for the assistance we can provide and are a pleasure to help.”

She has worked in the non-profit world for more than 25 years in various roles in Northwest Indiana and Indianapolis.

“There’s something about knowing that, every day, my efforts might make a difference to someone in my community,” she said.

Melinda has recently found a passion to keep America’s wild horses wild and protected.

“It’s something that I’ve only spent the last few years learning about and I have very much enjoyed the learning process,” she said. “Taking riding lessons and hanging around a horse barn always make my day better.”

Beer tasting event

In order to support our bus drivers, we are hosting our first beer tasting event to purchase new uniforms.

The event is from 4 to 8 p.m. Tuesday May 12 at Ironwood Brewery, 6 Roosevelt Road, in Valparaiso. The night includes beer, food, raffles and music by Pete Brunker and Ron Hanchar.

Ironwood owner Barb Kehe formerly served as Section 8 housing director at PCACS and has a passion to help.

“Community service is important because I have been blessed and I feel the need to share,” she said. “As a Christian, it is my duty. PCACS is a great means to support my community.”

Tickets are $15. For more information, call (219) 464-9736, Ext. 224, or email Martinez.valerie38@yahoocom.

 

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About Bruce Lindner

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All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Chronicle.  Bruce Lindner has worked in the not-for-profit world for more than 25 years and has been executive director of Porter County Aging and Community Services for five. A native of the Region, he was raised in Portage and he graduated from Valparaiso University. You can call him at 219-464-9736 or e-mail at bhlindner@frontier.com.

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