On the road again, finally

By Anna Marie D'Addarie - October 7, 2004

It's been a long road, but the residents of Windemere Nursing and Rehabilitation Center finally have a van of their own.

An article in the Dec. 19, 2002 edition of The Times detailed the need for a van to take Windemere residents to Island activities. In 2003 Edgartown School students engaged in a year-long fundraising campaign and donated $4,500 to honor Mary Fisher, former Edgartown teacher and current Windemere resident.

Irene Valenti, Evangeline Castro, Jen Adams, Mary DaSilva, Mary Fisher, and Nikki Lana
Windemere residents prepare to board their very own van. (From left to right) Irene Valenti, Evangeline Castro, Jen Adams, Mary DaSilva, Mary Fisher, and Nikki Lana. Photo by Ralph Stewart.

The quest for a van ended when the Vineyard Transit Authority offered to sell Windemere a two-year-old lift van. It is the exact model they were hoping for. The paperwork was completed earlier this summer. All that remained was for Betsy Burmeister, activities director, and Jan Adams, Alzheimer's specialist, to take a driving course to learn how operate the new van.

But the residents were impatient so Kerry Alley, a certified van driver, volunteered to drive the inaugural trip and take the residents to the Agricultural Fair in August.

The van now sports the Windemere name and both Ms. Burmeister and Ms. Adams are trained to drive it. Last Thursday they loaded up the van and drove to Menemsha for ice cream at the Galley.

Before acquiring the van, these simple trips were all but impossible. This winter, when the Christmas lights are lit, Windemere residents will be able to take a ride in the van to admire the decorations.