Veterans to Help Veterans as Part of Mobility Ambassador Program

In recognition of Veterans Day, the San Mateo County Transit District is publishing a story highlighting its new Veteran Mobility Corps initiative.

After being introduced to the concept of the Veterans Mobility Corps by program manager Jean Conger, Steven Strawser said he knew within 10 minutes that he wanted to be a part of the fledgling operation. Strawser, who served in the United States Army from 1988 to 1993—rising to the rank of Sergeant in less than three years—said the program captures the importance of the camaraderie that is entrenched among military veterans.

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Steven Strawser

“We all speak the same language,” said Strawser, a small business owner who resides in San Bruno. “Military veterans are the largest fraternity in the world—we all have experienced the same things, so there is an inherent trust for one another. We have a bond that transcends age.”

Strawser and Farris Hix, who served in the Army Security Agency from 1959 to 1962, are the first two volunteers of the San Mateo County Transit District’s Veterans Mobility Corps (VMC), an initiative where military veterans teach their comrades how to use the regional public transportation system.

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Farris Hix

The VMC is part of the Senior Mobility Initiative, a longstanding program that partners the Transit District with a broad coalition of organizations to provide resources and assistance to older residents and people with disabilities. The VMC was designed to address the transportation challenges faced by veterans who have disabilities brought about by aging or injuries sustained during their service.

Hix, 76, a Montara resident and part-time real estate broker, said he was looking to volunteer for a program that he could feel good about. He found out about the VMS at a local Veterans Affair barbecue. He knew right away that he wanted to help out.

Although he’s lived in the area for more than 40 years, Hix said he is a relative novice to the public transportation system, but he’s looking forward to learning more about SamTrans, Caltrain and other local service providers.

“I’m not going to be driving forever, so I’ve got to get used to the public transportation system as well,” said Hix. “Not only will I have the chance to teach others, but I’ll be learning a lot myself.”

Hix and Strawser are tentatively scheduled to begin their training program in December. Once they’ve been acclimated, they’ll  be able to teach their fellow veterans about how to use the regional public transportation network.

“Public transportation can give these veterans the gift of freedom and independence,” said Strawser. “They don’t have to be reliant on others for their mobility needs. This program can empower them, and I’m excited to be a part of that process.”

SamTrans is proud to support and honor our nation’s Veterans today and every day.  Many SamTrans employees are military veterans and their service in the armed forces helped shape them into dedicated public servants working to provide public transportation in our community.

We are proud to serve veterans and we are proud to employ veterans.  We salute you.

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