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  • Lisa Varner

EFS Volunteer Named ITNAmerica's Volunteer of the Year

Updated: Nov 2, 2023

John Bissel was recently selected for the ITNAmerica Volunteer of the Year Award in honor of his volunteer service for Eastside Friends of Seniors. John is just one of the many volunteer super stars that we, and our clients, are so fortunate to have.


ITNAmerica is a national organization that promotes lifelong mobility for older adults through sustainable, community-based transportation. Eastside Friends of Seniors is a part of the ITNAmerica network.


John has been driving for Eastside Friends of Seniors since August 2016. He, like many of our volunteers, is a retiree who often finds himself driving clients in their mid 70’s to mid 80’s. So far this year he has taken 44 drives and driven 1,670 miles.


John has the ability to engage people from a wide variety of backgrounds and viewpoints. He is high energy and always looking for a chance to help others. Clients have called us letting us know how wonderful John is. One client called in and said, “He was just a beautiful, beautiful person with a good sense of humor. I tried to tip him. He wouldn't take the money, and he was just right on time. He was wonderful. I want to give him some good Kudos and tell him thank you." John also keeps a cool head. On one ride, John was transporting three people to two different locations in Seattle. We had a widower who had an appointment at Harborview and a couple who needed to go to UW Medical Center. We’re often short on drivers, and just a handful of our volunteer team is comfortable driving in Seattle. Sometimes we’ll combine requests to accommodate everyone.


Both gentleman John was driving that day were in their mid 70's. The single gentleman has a speech impediment. The husband in the couple has Alzheimer’s. On the way back, the group wanted to stop at a pharmacy. John was obliging, but then the widower wandered off and John was unable to locate him when it was time to go. Even though the situation was disconcerting, John remained calm. He eventually gathered everyone and brought them all home safely.

John has saved our skins a number of times by taking the requests that no one else wants to take. He's just a fantastic all around guy and a phenomenal volunteer!


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