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Department plays integral role in meeting Sisters' transportation needschair v
Eric Gallagher, accompanied by Cindy Driscoll of the SP Health Care Department, demonstrates the chair lift on the Mary’s Meadow chair lift van.



Eric Gallagher, coordinator of the Congregation’s Transportation Office, remembers what would have been a nail-biting ride years ago—had he been able to take his hands off the car’s steering wheel.

Three Sisters of Providence had landed safely at the airport and Eric was driving them to their Mother House in Holyoke (approximately 30 miles) when what started as a pleasant snowfall changed into a blizzard.

Eric “really didn’t think we’d make it back.” His passengers’ gratitude for his getting them home safely left him with an indelible impression. The experience, he said, “really drove home for me the importance of my job and my need to take its responsibilities very seriously. Its number one priority is to get the Sisters where they need to go, and back, safely. Being on time is important, but not at the cost of safety. I don’t run red lights. And I don’t speed, no matter what.” To that he adds, “I’m proud I’ve never had an accident or speeding ticket.”

He started as the office dispatcher in 1993 “glued” to his desk “most of the time.” He scheduled the departments’ drivers for Sisters’ rides to and from their places of ministry, medical appointments, family visits, vacations, etc. That was the pre-cell phone era so communication with Sisters and drivers was not as efficient as it is today.

As office coordinator, Eric is no longer “glued” to his desk, though his responsibilities often find him on his office keyboard—scheduling required maintenance, safety inspections, and registration renewals, for the Congregation’s 16 vehicles.

Moving furniture

Gerry Wroblewski (above right), a retired public school teacher, assists with the Sisters’ transportation needs. He says his job satisfaction comes from “satisfying the Sisters. They’ve done so much for people for so many years it’s nice to return the favor.”

Eric agrees with Gerry, that “It’s the things that pop up, that aren’t on the schedule, that are the most challenging. You just can’t anticipate things like flat tires.”

The two are ready to pitch in whenever and wherever needed. For example, Eric transports Sisters requiring chair van accommodations. And when Sisters move in or out of Providence Place, or from one apartment to another, both do the heavy lifting, carrying and transporting involved. Too, they assist Providence Place with the retirement community’s snow removal efforts, helping to clear snow off of residents’ cars and move over 100 of those cars out of the path of the snowplows.

In summary, on or off the road, Eric and Gerry are open to getting the job done—whatever the job of the day happens to be.


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