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Mount Vernon Transit Service Changes Direction

MOUNT VERNON — Over the past seven years, three Neighbors Driving Neighbors board members have led the way: Dan Onion, Sandy Wright and Shelly Fitzgerald. All three helped launch Neighbors Driving Neighbors in 2015 and have been active board leaders ever since.

All three, while remaining on the board, step down as officers to make way for new leadership. In the words of Founding Chairman Dan Onion, “After seven years of starting, we senior board members are aging ourselves, and while we would like to live forever and lead the organization, we must gradually change direction. to a new generation,” according to a press release from the organization.

This new generation of officers includes Harald Bredesen of Mount Vernon as President, Peter Roderick of Rome as Vice President and Kelli Burnham of Fayette as Secretary. Bill Rosenberg of Mount Vernon will continue as Treasurer. Ken Elliot of Mount Vernon was elected as a new board member at the organization’s annual meeting in January.

The new officers express their gratitude to the founding leaders for making NDN a valued, volunteer-run community organization – even while maintaining services during the pandemic. As new NDN President Bredesen said, “We are pleased that Dan, Shelly and Sandy will continue as board members for the time being to advise new management and staff as we continue to navigate a COVID environment while providing a safe and often essential service.”

A further change to the organization welcomes Misty Beck from Fayette and Joe Austin from Farmington as co-executive directors. Beck has been NDN’s racing coordinator since January 2021.

Austin, a Franklin County native, has spent most of his career working in student affairs at the University of Southern Maine and most recently at the University of Maine at Farmington. He remains active in the career development field and serves as president of the Maine Career Development Association. He holds a master’s degree in counseling from the University of Maine.

Beck received her doctorate in English from Washington University in St. Louis in 2001 before moving to Maine in 2006. She teaches courses in writing and environmental humanities at UMF. As a resident of Fayette, she served as president of the Basin-David-Tilton Ponds Association and vice-president of the Friends of Starling Hall, and is a volunteer member of the Vienna Union Hall Association.

Neighbors Driving Neighbors provides free rides to those in need of transportation in Belgrade, Fayette, Mount Vernon, Rome and Vienna. During the high incidence of COVID, rides are currently only provided for medical appointments. Prepaid grocery and pharmacy orders can also be picked up and delivered.

Contact the organization to register for support, or for more information call 207-860-0677 or email [email protected].