Keeping the community rolling

New partnership gets seniors out and about

MARSHALL — A local transportation company has stepped up to fill a community need for Marshall’s senior living residents.

Southwest Coaches is providing free bus transportation for residents of Marshall’s senior living facilities who want to attend the Marshall Area Fine Arts Council concert series performances. The company began the volunteer transportation in 2017 and plans to continue the service as the concert series continues this winter.

“It’s something we want to do for the community,” said Jim Hey of Southwest Coaches. “When MAFAC approached us, we thought it was a great idea.”

MAFAC sponsors a concert series each year at Marshall High School, one that brings performers with national and worldwide reputations to the Marshall area. They perform a wide variety of music, including classical, folk, rock, big band era, and other styles.

Local assisted living center staff said they were very happy to be approached about the free bus transportation opportunity.

“We thought it was great that they wanted to do it,” said Becca Badgett, activities director at Hill Street Place in Marshall. “Transportation can turn into a real obstacle for residents who can no longer drive a car. People are more likely to go if they don’t have to find a ride.”

Jan Mason, tenant services director at Boulder Estates in Marshall, said the free bus service from Southwest Coaches has many benefits for assisted living residents. It fits with the goals of assisted living facilities to keep senior citizens active in community events.

“We do as much as possible to encourage our residents to be part of things, to enjoy what happens in the community,” Mason said. “Usually we’ve had to look for ways to do that. It was great to be approached by other organizations.”

She added that the arrangement can at least set a precedent for the MAFAC concert series, and has potential to work for other major events in Marshall.

“Everyone benefits from it,” Mason said. “It a great new partnership between MAFAC, Southwest Coaches and our facilities.”