Thursday, September 29, 2011

HART High Five: Mark Sheppard, Travel Trainer

We're introducing a new series titled "HART High Fives," which will recognize HART employees that have recently received commendations from patrons. We'd like to share a letter from Liz, who takes care of Brenda, the focus of this letter.

Congratulations to Mark Sheppard, Travel Trainer, who received this high five:

"An interesting thing occurred last month while Brenda was taking the bus to her doctor's appointment ... She lives right off of West Waters Avenue and went to her bus stop across from the Walgreens near her home and waited for the Route 16 bus, which her iPad said would get there by a certain time.

When it was 15 minutes past the time it was supposed to arrive, Brenda did an amazing thing. She called HART and found out that the [scheduled] time had been changed since the last time she had been to that doctor, and the bus would be arriving in about 10 minutes.

She waited for it but realized en route that she would be late for her appointment if she got off the bus at a designated bus stop rather than right in front of the doctor's office. She asked for a courtesy stop, but they were not able to.

She was dropped off at the next stop, past the doctor's office, and she figured out in which direction she would have to walk to get to her doctor's office. She arrived 5 minutes late, but that was no big deal.

Someone who doesn't know Brenda would wonder what was so special about what happened that day. You know Brenda and her cognitive abilities. This type of independent behavior would have been totally absent if not for YOUR travel training expertise and the time you spent with her PLUS all the experience and confidence she has gained through accessing HART's public transportation on a daily basis for the past five or six years.

She takes the bus to a couple of different doctors' offices, to the public library, three different malls, her credit union and the Super Wal-Mart on Henderson, to name a few. She is now asking if she can take it to night school (Chamberlain). It has freed my time up considerably and given her a level of confidence and independence. She's now able to have so much control of her life.

Thank you, Mark, from the bottom of my heart, for taking that time so very long ago to make Brenda the independent traveler that she is today."

- Liz Price

Mark Sheppard has been with HART since 2003 and is nationally recognized in the industry for his travel training work. Sheppard has been honored by a number of organizations, including: the Florida Diagnostics & Learning Resources System, Center for Urban Research, Council for Exceptional Children and the USF College of Education. Sheppard plans on hitting a milestone, when he trains his 1000th "trainee" in December 2011 or January 2012.

Here's a HART high five to Mark for all his great work. We're glad to have him as a member of the HART family!

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