Blake Cleary, 23, of Bowling Green, knew he wanted to make a difference in the community during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thanks to his current job as a “runner” for Crocker Law Firm, Cleary regularly visits residences in the Bowling Green area and sees firsthand how some people have difficulties in getting out and about.
With that background, Cleary came up with the idea of a free transport service for underserved and elderly individuals in the Bowling Green area that would safely get them to and from their COVID-19 vaccination appointments.
“With the pandemic going on, I’ve honestly just been really bored and I really wanted to do something in our community to help out,” he said. “I thought to myself that if I could just get enough organizations willing to donate, I knew people could get free transportation to clinics.”
Cleary’s idea is now a reality.
His nonprofit transportation service is up and running thanks to a partnership with the Bowling Green Human Rights Commission and Dave’s Transportation Services.
The cost for Cleary’s service is fully funded with donations from M&L Electrical, Franklin Bank & Trust, BB&T Bank, Crocker Law Firm and Ginger Cleary of State Farm Insurance.
“We are ready to start right now,” he said. “It was just really hard to coordinate last week due to all the winter weather.”
The free service is available to anyone who is registered for a vaccine in Bowling Green and doesn’t have the ability to get their appointment.
Reservations can be made for transportation by messaging CVT (Covid Vaccine Transport) on Facebook, calling the Bowling Green Human Rights Commission at 270-782-7900 or emailing CVaccineTransport@gmail.com.
Cleary said individuals will be picked up within four hours of messaging or calling any of the above options. No transportation is offered on Sundays.
Dave’s Transportation Services is offering two vehicles to assist Cleary’s nonprofit. However, he said that number could grow if need for the nonprofit increases.
Cleary received his undergraduate degree from the University of Mississippi in May 2020. He ran track for the Rebels after competing for Bowling Green High School.
Partly because of the pandemic, Cleary took a gap year after his undergraduate work, which is when he started to formulate the idea for his nonprofit.
He eventually wants to go to law school, but for now he is focused on helping senior citizens and the less fortunate in Bowling Green.
Bowling Green Human Rights Commission Executive Director Alice Waddell said Cleary came to the organization with the idea.
Waddell said this is the type of community-first idea that the commission supports.
“What we want to be able to do is to provide transportation for those who need it and don’t have the means,” Waddell said. “That shouldn’t be an obstacle for them. We are glad to be able to form this partnership, and we are glad to be working with Blake. He is really passionate about this project. I’m glad to see younger people reaching out to the community the way that he is.”
– Follow reporter John Reecer on Twitter @JReecerBGDN or visit bgdailynews.com.