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Chet Gos and Tanya Elmore

What is SMTS?

 

Chet: Southeast Missouri Transportation Service is set up to help provide transportation to rural workers and retired people. We take people like Ms. Elmore, who don’t have transportation, to their doctor’s appointments and wherever else they need to go. If you’ve got Medicaid, it’s taken care of.

 

I’ve been driving for about a year and a half. I retired last year from being an underground moner and wanted to stay busy. This keeps me busy. I meet a lot of people, and it’s enjoyable because I’m helping the community. I’ve given her rides about two or three times.
 

Tanya: I use the service for medical transportation. I’m from Bunker, Missouri, which is about an hour and a half away from here. This is where my cardiologist is, and I come here about every three months. In an emergency, I call 911. But it takes 30 minutes to get to a hospital from where I live. And if transportation doesn’t take me, I don’t get there.

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Describing public health

Tanya:  Public health is people helping each other. When you help someone, it makes you feel better.

 

There are so many churches in my community. It’s like 30 miles to the nearest grocery store, so we got food pantries, too.

Rewarding work

Chet: I work every day, and I’ve never had a bad experience. We have in-town services where we take people to Walmart, Country Mart, and pharmacies. We also go long-distance to Colombia, St. Louis, Springfield, Rolla. This job is rewarding. I meet a lot of people. I get to know them. You take up with them, they take up with you. So we’re all courteous to our riders. Some of these older folks, you’re providing a service for and they appreciate you so much because they have no one else. So they speak very highly of you when they call to make their appointments. A lot of them will even request a certain driver.

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Chet Gos, Driver, SMTS

Tanya Elmore, Passenger

Storytelling and photos by:

Humans of St. Louis / Ava Mandoli