Greg Staub is a transportation provider with Potomac Valley Transit Authority, an agency that covers five counties in West Virginia.
That might not mean much if you’re not from around there, so here’s a clue: Those five counties comprise the largest landmass in the state. In fact, the agency covers about 2,800 square miles, running about 140–150 trips per day. The five-county coverage means everything to those who live there because there are few resources available to people in need of non-emergency medical transportation.
And those people mean an awful lot to Greg. “It’s an emotional thing,” he said. “It really is.”
Connecting with patients
“Greg has been just an incredible driver,” said Doug, his supervisor. “He has so much compassion.” Listening to Greg speak about the people he transports—“getting to know them, getting to know where they live and the special needs of getting in and out,” as Greg put it—his feelings about them come through loud and clear.
“People rely on us being there,” he said. “Most of our dialysis patients have to go a long distance because they don’t live in an area where there’s a dialysis center for them. They have to be there—in any kind of weather.
“I had one rider not too long ago…you could tell she had a lot of anxiety about riding in a bus in her wheelchair, so we did a lot of extra strapping the wheelchair in, making sure it was really tight,” he recalls. “She had a lot of [anxiety]. We did what we could to quell that.
“Another lady I’ve been taking to the hospital for chemo and radiation…well, at times, she was discouraged,” Greg said. Greg encouraged her by sharing what he’s heard about advances in cancer therapies and telling her stories of his neighbor’s success in cancer treatment. “It changed her outlook on it.”
The impact drivers like Greg have on patients every day is enormous. The fact that these people depend on Greg, especially for these long-distance trips, “enhances their quality of life,” Doug noted. “That’s what it boils down to.”
Pictured above: Greg Staub