Success Stories


I am 80 years old. I have vision impairment and am legally blind. I live near a major intersection, and I could see the bus going by, but I couldn’t read the numbers or destinations. I was very frustrated. Up till a year ago, I lived on a 46-acre ranch in Texas. Now I live in an apartment complex for independent living for seniors. I felt locked in a gilded cage!

The VA Hospital in Spokane gave me the number of the STA Mobility Training department. My trainer from the "mobility training" department of STA showed me how to look for the blue signs, and where to get on. “Bus Riding 101." She took me ice skating, roller skating, all over. She was an angel, totally supportive in everything. It takes a very special person to do that job. Now I can go anywhere I want.

 When I attended a six week course of rehabilitation for the blind at the VA Hospital at American Lakenear Tacoma, they introduced me to "how to play golf " and gave me a bag of clubs. Now I ride to the Down River Golf Course 3 times a week to take lessons. I’ve been to the Hobby Lobby, the Symphony, to the Regal Cinema. And I go to the YMCA once a week for a weight workout.

Now I can go anywhere I want. I got so excited I wrote a short story “I Can Fly.” I can take a bus to the airport and go anywhere in the world.  -- Caesar DeCarlo, Spokane, Washington


I was a combat medic in Vietnam and took a grenade to the back of the head. I am legally blind, and I was whining to my VA visually-impaired coordinator about not being able to get around. I tried to take the bus previously and got terribly lost. She recommended mobility training through STA, which I took about 3 years ago.

The training was excellent. They were very forthcoming on what I needed to do. They assisted me when I needed it and let me be when I didn’t. I could call them when I had a challenge, and they told me where to go. I have some memory challenges from my injury, so they made cards for me on which bus to take and so forth. They were more than helpful and very amenable.

It’s really given me more mobility. If my wife is working and can’t provide transportation I can take the bus. I’m a bagpiper and I play at a lot of funeral services for veterans in the area. I live up on south hill, and my VFW is about 8 miles from here. I ride the bus there and then get transportation to the cemetery, about 28 miles further.

I take the bus to the VA for my appointments, and it works real well for me. It takes less time than for my wife to drive. 

And I can go to the local pubs.-- Phil White, Spokane, Washington


I live in a senior community and use a walker. We heard that paratransit use was being cut. I thought I would try [the STA] mobility training to see what it was like and if I could actually use it with my problems in getting around.

The trainer is so well-trained. She knows what to look for after working with me. She advises me which buses to take, so I don’t have to cross certain streets. She looks out for barriers I would have to contend with, and makes sure I don’t have to cross at any unsafe intersections. She is very knowledgeable about these things and says I can call her back after we’re finished for more training if I need it.

I am just taking my training now, and I think it will improve my ability to get out. I haven’t ridden the bus for 6 years. They are completely different. I couldn’t use it without the ramps.

I think it is exceptional, really helpful, and I found out about the group training they do. I presented the idea to our resident community, and now they are coming out with the big bus to show the others how the ramp works and how to read the schedules. -- Sallee Johnson, Cheney, Washington


We had a call from a young lady who told us her mom was ready to die because her husband had passed away. When the trainer arrived, the drapes were pulled shut, the kitchen was a mess, and there was no food in the house. We started training her, as she regained her independence, the blinds went up, the house got cleaned. Fifteen years later, she is still doing volunteer work in the hospital.

We worked with a man in his 50’s, who was showing the first signs of dementia. He was an avid reader. We started to work with him and took him to the library. The next time he saw the doctor, his symptoms had improved just from stimulating his brain. Prior to that, he just stayed home. -- Reported by Kevin Welch, Sacramento, California

For more information, contact Phil McGuire.

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