By Carol A. Clark
The Los Alamos Lions Club created a program that has become a lifeline to local residents without a way to get to their medical appointments.
H.E.L.P. is filled with volunteers who drive Los Alamos residents to medical appointments at Los Alamos Medical Center as well as to doctor offices throughout the County, in Espanola, Santa Fe and all the way to Albuquerque.
“The Lions Club formed the H.E.L.P. program in 1982,” said Barbara Croley, affiliated with the Lions Club since 1963. “It varies of course but our volunteers drive 20 to 35 patients a month to their medical appointments.”
Anyone unable to get to their medical appointment is eligible for a free ride from a H.E.L.P. volunteer, Croley said.
But it’s typically older residents and those with physical issues who most use the service.
“H.E.L.P. provides such a wonderful resource and it’s important that the community is aware of this service,” said Dr. Carolyn Linnebur of Medical Associates of Northern New Mexico.
The H.E.L.P. program has about 30 volunteer drivers.
“We try to limit each driver to one trip a month so it isn’t a burden on anyone,” Croley said. “But many of our volunteers are retired and they’re away a lot. Also, only a few of the drivers are willing to go all the way to Albuquerque. So we are looking for more volunteers.”
Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer driver for the H.E.L.P. program should contact Barbara Croley at 672-3618 or Mary Ann Cotter at 672-1450.
Founded in 1917, Lions Clubs are best known for fighting blindness but the nonprofit organization also performs volunteer work for many different kinds of community projects, including caring for the environment, feeding the hungry and aiding seniors and the disabled. The 1.35 million members in 207 countries and geographic areas are different in many ways, but share a core belief – “community is what we make it.”
The Los Alamos Lions Club meets at 6 p.m. the first and third Thursday of each month. Those interested in the Lions Club should call Dennis Wulff at 672-9563 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.