Phil N. is an active volunteer transportation driver for Neighbors, Inc. with compassion for others. Initially recruited by a Neighbors’ staff member for the role while he was already a Neighbors’ food shelf volunteer, he transitioned into volunteer driving to transport residents of northern Dakota County to medical and dental appointments. He currently provides 2-3 rides each week to residents of South and West Saint Paul, Inver Grove Heights, Mendota, Mendota Heights, Sunfish Lake, and Lilydale.
During the interview for this story, Phil spoke about being a “people person” and emphasized that this trait is necessary for a successful transportation driver. Phil can engage in many topics with riders. He likes people and is a good listener. In addition to meeting new people in the community, Phil realizes that his interactions with riders may be just as important as the ride itself. “Sometimes you take the same person multiple times, so you really get a chance to know them,” Phil said.
Making connections with others is rewarding for Phil in his volunteer driving position. Phil is among 20 volunteer drivers who, using their own vehicles, transport people to and from medical and dental appointments. He is grateful to be reimbursed for mileage. He also likes having the flexibility of being allowed a few weeks off when he needs it.
Striving to acquire more volunteer drivers for Neighbors is one of his goals. “I try to recruit who I can. There’s always room for more drivers”, Phil said. Jenny Saunier, Transportation Program Coordinator at Neighbors, stated that there is a need for more volunteer drivers while (Neighbors’) rides increase in the summer.
Phil’s background includes having a 34 year career at 3M where he gained valuable experience in the shipping and distribution field. He retired from 3M in 1999.
Phil and his wife, Carole, have resided in Mendota Heights for 45 years. The couple have two adult children and three grandchildren.
Neighbors has many ways that you can serve the community and help your neighbors in need! For more information on how you can get involved, visit www.neighborsmn.org/volunteer.