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Bus arrives to aid senior population: Senior Foundation contributed $85K

“The Silver Streak,” a sparkling new bus, arrived at the North Ferry dock on Aug. 20 and was greeted by about a half dozen members of the Senior Citizens Foundation of Shelter Island.

The long-awaited new senior citizen bus then took its maiden voyage to Town Hall to be presented to Town Supervisor Gerry Siller. Foundation President Chris Lewis, in a symbolic gesture, gave the keys for the bus to the supervisor.

Shelter Island Senior Foundation President Chris Lewis hands the keys of the bus to Supervisor Gerry Siller, with, from left, Roni Siller and Town Councilwoman Amber Brach-Williams.

The vehicle will replace the worn-out, nearly 20-year-old current bus, which has been used by the Senior Activity Center and the Recreation Department.

Senior Center Director Laurie Fanelli appeared to be delighted. “It’s just a wonderful gift,” she said, adding, “Now folks will be able to travel in comfort and security.”

Ready to launch. Senior Activity Center Director Laurie Fanelli ‘christens’ the bus with a bottle of sparkling cider.

It was learned that the old bus had broken down on a number of occasions and leaked when it rained.

“And in the winter that leaking water turned to ice,” Ms. Fanelli said.

After the passing of the keys, the bus went to the Senior Activity Center where a crowd was waiting to welcome it. Some 30 individuals enjoyed beverages and strawberry shortcake.

Seniors enjoy strawberry shortcake and beverages to celebrate the arrival of the bus.

“This one looks bigger and faster and more comfortable,” was Jane Gereghty’s take on the new vehicle.

“And it’s easier to get in,” Ms. Fanelli said.

The bus is needed to transport seniors unable to drive or arrange their own rides to doctors’ appointments, as well as to afford the growing senior population on the Island the ability to attend special events on- and off-Island.

The director christened the bus by pouring a bottle of sparkling cider over the left front wheel.

The bus has 20 seats and and a lift for two wheelchairs. The air conditioning was quite comfortable on the sunny afternoon, according to a passenger who remarked that the “new-car smell” was evident.

The bus was purchased from Lucas Ford in Southold. The Foundation began the purchasing process almost a year ago and agreed to buy the new vehicle for about $85,000. The old bus is now up for sale, according to Ms. Fanelli.

The Senior Citizens Foundation of Shelter Island is a private organization on the Island that spends its funds on projects that benefit Island seniors. Ms. Lewis leads a group of members who vote on projects.

In the past, some of their gifts have included lighting and walkways at the Perlman Music Center, making entrances and exits easier for seniors. The foundation purchased a wheelchair accessible van, and helped Camp Quinipet become more senior friendly with a golf cart and pathways.

Another significant contribution the Foundation made for the Island community was funding the benches and picnic table under the gazebo at Wades Beach.