EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

January 25, 2013

Windham van is key for some residents

Windham van critical for some residents

(Continued)

“Even if I didn’t need anything, I’d go every Wednesday because of the people I have met,” Campanella said.

She is a five-year rider. She learned about the service at the retirement home.

“When he came, I just got in the van,” Campanella said, nodding toward Root. “I’m not shy.”

Neither is Mary Grace Labadini, 90, who boards a few minutes later at her home. She’s the one they call “the head leader.”

Labadini is on a mission to buy bread, pastry and some meat. She is there this Wednesday and every Wednesday.

“Unless it snows,” in which case Root and his riders will skip a week, she said.

That happened the week before.

“I missed not going last week,” Campanella tells Labadini.

The passengers either don’t drive because they can’t or won’t.

Sandy Morrissey, 61, “the youngest,” is a widow. Her husband died a couple of years ago and she admits she gets nervous driving, so she uses the town van.

“I love it,” Morrissey said. “It has been great for me.”

She is shopping for her children and grandchildren. Root said she will fill the back with groceries. This week, they include bread and Scooby-Doo cereal.

Morrissey shares a picture of granddaughter Vicky with Labadini and Campanella. Vicky no longer lives in town, but remembers the women from their expeditions with her grandmother.

“She would always come and talk with us,” Campanella recalls.

“Vicky has a message for you,” Morrissey said. “She said to tell you she will see you in June.”

The passengers on the Wednesday rounds are mostly seniors, Root said.

People also can call, as Morrissey has done, to schedule rides to the doctor where the driver will wait for them.

Town Administrator David Sullivan said about a half dozen people regularly schedule trips to medical appointments with the town.

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