Travelers Aid Going Beyond Expectations

A New feature
This story highlights the best example of a volunteer going above and beyond.

Making Connections

Chicago, JFK Tag Team to Get Expat Home to Peoria

In February, Travelers Aid/Chicago was asked by the U.S. State Department to assist in repatriating a former central Illinois resident who had been in Germany since the mid-1980s as he had overstayed his papers. Travelers Aid found a transitional housing shelter and awaited flight information. The State Department booked the Frankfurt-New York-Atlanta-Peoria flight with less than 24-hours’ notice to the individual. In fact, he had to depart Germany before learning of the ground transportation arrangements that would be meeting him in Peoria. Once armed with the details, Travelers Aid Chicago contacted Travelers Aid at JFK Airport. Before the man boarded the Atlanta leg, Travelers Aid/JFK found him and provided him with the rest of his itinerary. Travelers Aid/Chicago arranged the ground transportation with the Illinois Department of Human Services. Upon arrival in Peoria, the expat was met with his ride and made it to the shelter managed by the Department of Veterans Affairs Transitional Housing program.

Reagan, Dulles Volunteers Work to Return Lost Passports

On Feb. 14, Travelers Aid/Reagan volunteer Pender McCarter at Washington Reagan National Airport noticed a small black zipper case left at the Information Desk. It contained several current and outdated passports from the U.S., the United Kingdom and India. From the passport photos, Pender recognized a passenger who asked for transportation information to Washington Dulles Airport. He called Travelers Aid at Dulles and spoke with volunteer Glover Epperson, who made several paging announcements and contacted several airline agents who may have a passenger missing their passport. Shortly thereafter, a call came into the desk from the wife of the passenger who was indeed at a Dulles gate waiting for his flight home to Los Angeles. The wife stated that her husband was traveling internationally in just two days. Travelers Aid arranged for an overnight delivery of the passports to Los Angeles.


Volunteers in Oklahoma City Team Up to Assist Vet

During the government shutdown, an individual called the Travelers Aid information booth at Will Rogers World Airport needing assistance. He told volunteer Julie Beatus that he was stuck at the VA Hospital there in Oklahoma City and needed transportation back to Wichita Falls, Texas. She connected him with Upward Transitions, the parent of Travelers Aid at Will Rogers, and the agency was able to provide a gas card so he could make the return trip home.

Bradley Volunteers Assist Special Needs Traveler

At Bradley International Airport, Travelers Aid volunteers Bernie and Roberta Mulligan in January assisted a special needs passenger who had an unexpected extra-long layover at the airport. The passenger, from a group home in Massachusetts, had flown into Bradley and was required to return to the home using a specific taxi service. The Mulligans discovered she did not have enough funds to pay for the cab and furthermore it would be several hours before the cab company could reach the airport. Bernie and Roberta assisted the woman with making several phone calls to her case worker to secure the car fare and to work out the timing of her ride. As their shift ended, the Mulligans asked a state police officer to look after the women as she still had several more hours to wait.