Driving With Love: ROSSS Looking For More Volunteer Drivers

By Melissa MacIsaac, ROSSS

Recently, Rural Ottawa South Support Services (ROSSS) had the privilege of being featured in the newsletter of one of our biggest local supporters, Lagois Design·Build·Renovate, based in North Gower. The multi-award renovation company, this year named Renovator of the Year, raises funds each year with Ride for ROSSS, a motorcycle ride. Lagois, recently achieved the first-ever Net Zero-Ready renovation in Ottawa. Founder Herb Lagois sits on the ROSSS board and has long been a wholehearted fan.

As a result of Herb’s commitment to ROSSS, we recently were the gracious recipients of a generous donation from Scotia McLeod.

“Herb Lagois told us about ROSSS,” says Bea Vanderwal, Investment Associate at ScotiaMcLeod, which then became instrumental in sizeable fundraising for ROSSS. “[Our funding] was a no-brainer, because he was so passionate about it.”

Allow me to take the opportunity to share with you the lovely article that was written by Francie Healy for the Lagois newsletter. Enjoy!

“Sam is a chatty sort of fellow. Chatty, that is, when he has someone to chat with.

Sam has lived alone near Metcalfe, Ont. since his wife, Edna, died. He doesn’t drive anymore, and the days are long in his big old farmhouse in the country.

Sam will face some surgery in the next couple of months and needs to attend several medical appointments. He would have no way of getting to them if it were not for Rosemary, his reliable volunteer driver.

Rosemary drives for Rural Ottawa South Support Services (ROSSS). Sam calls her an angel. He’s not the only one who thinks she is. Rosemary brings three other seniors to medical or hair appointments, to the grocery and drug store, to social engagements and to ROSSS social drop-in programs.

It’s more than transportation. Rosemary and her fellow ROSSS volunteer drivers, like Jeff Doll, are sunshine on grey days. They’re friends. They’re good listeners. They’re company.

Jeff, a retired engineer, says his volunteer work as a driver for ROSSS gives him focus, especially after the death of his wife two and a half years ago. It helps alleviate some of his own loneliness.

He understands his clients well, because so many are widows or widowers themselves. “We understand each other,” he says.

Jeff likes meeting new people all the time. He averages about two or three drives a week. Most of the trips are into the city. Jeff picks up clients at home, takes them to their appointments, and waits for them. He always brings something to read, and he might go for a bowl of soup. “It’s productive time for me,“ he explains. “I always find something to do.”

He speaks highly of the team at ROSSS. “They’re there because it’s where their heart is. It’s good to know there’s that much care and love in the world. And you know, what you give gives back to you.”

ROSSS provides affordable, quality health and social programs for older adults, adults living with disabilities, and their caregivers in rural communities south of Ottawa.

Because of ROSSS volunteers, many older adult members of rural communities can live independently and well at home.

ROSSS is currently in need of more volunteer drivers. They’re looking for people who:

  • Would like an opportunity to meet new people
  • Want to make a difference in the community and increase their own sense of purpose
  • Enjoy working in a team environment
  • Have good communication, listening, patience and “people skills”
  • Have knowledge of best practices for working with seniors and cognitively impaired adults
  • Are reliable and punctual
  • Have knowledge of minimal-assist techniques to help clients with mobility challenges
  • Are able to maintain confidentiality.

Training is provided.

If you own your own vehicle and would like more information, please get in touch with Della Hart,; or at 613-692-4697, ext. 228.

Featured Image: Retired engineer Jeff Doll is a ROSSS driver who offers friendship and compassion, as well as a ride.