This acknowledgement by the Federal Transit Administrator is for providing outstanding rural transportation service to people living outside of Missouri's major urban areas. Singled out for special recognition were Senator Christopher "Kit" Bond and Berniece Schuerenberg, secretary of SMTS' Board of Directors.
During his two terms as Missouri's Governor, Bond supported the development of non-profit corporations like SMTS to provide needed public services.
Schuerenberg joined SMTS' volunteer Board of Directors when she realized the need for transportation among people living in rural areas. At that time, just three SMTS vans served about 200 Missourians. Today, 130 vehicles serve over 10,000 individuals in 21 counties.
People use the service for getting to and from healthcare and business appointments, shopping, senior centers, as well as training and employment opportunities. Some riders are unable to pay the cost of the service and may qualify for a contribution system established by the Southeast Missouri Area Agency on Aging.
"For any organization to be nominated for a national award is a great honor," declares Bill Osborne, executive director of SMTS. "Whatever success SMTS has in providing transit service is due to the volunteers, board members, employees, and the financial support of donors to the transit service . . ."
Anyone interested in using the service or contributing to help other people needing transportation can call their local SMTS office, ask one of the drivers, or call me at 800-273-0646."