On April 8, in conjunction with National Volunteer Week, Dorothy Crook, of Purdy, was recognized as the 2009 Barry County OATS Volunteer of the Year.
Scott Kosky, southwest regional director with OATS, presented Crook with an OATS Volunteer of the Year pin and gift.
"I guess it was just my turn," Crook said with a smile. "I drive but I enjoy the fellowship and the scenery while I'm on the bus. Over the years, I have formed a lot of friendships."
Crook, age 76, began riding the bus in 2006 and is a member of the County Support Committee. As a volunteer, she helps access items for people while they are doing their shopping and a variety of other things.
"The OATS bus is a wonderful service for everyone. It provides safe and courteous rides to doctor appointments and shopping," Crook emphasized.
"A lot of people are not aware OATS is a public transportation system that is available to everyone, regardless of age, race, gender, color, religion or national origin. OATS serves a wide diversity of clientele," Korsky said.
According to Kosky, there were almost 65,000 volunteer hours reported in the past fiscal year equalling an assessed dollar value of $887,330.
In most of the 87 Missouri counties OATS serves, there are between eight and 24 volunteers, mostly riders, who help OATS continue to provide a level of service far beyond what their funding may allow.
Since 1971, OATS, a non-profit corporation, has continued to rely on these volunteers for fundraising, scheduling and publicity.
OATS is funded, in part, by an allotment of federal funds from the Missouri Department of Transportation and through contracts with various agencies. OATS also accepts donations from riders and private contributions, which are tax deductible.
For more information about OATS or on how to become a volunteer, call 417-887-9272 or visit their website at www.oatstransit.org.