Swim bus a success

By ANNE KAZMIERCZAK
Register Reporter

Register/Anne Kazmierczak
Kayla McNutt (left) and Jamee McEndree took advantage of a day off work to ride the “Summer Swim” bus from Moran Tuesday to cool off at Iola’s Municipal Pool. It was the first time for the girls to use the free service, which is funded through community donations.

MORAN — Thanks to a community effort in Moran, local youth are provided with free transportation to and from the Iola Municipal Pool two afternoons a week.
Typically, 18-20 youth ride the bus to the pool, said coordinator Kathy Ward, but “we’ve had as many as 25 some days.” In all, 50 students have signed on to use the service. Ward said most youth swim once a week.
Moran Thrive organized the service. The volunteer group formed in January after Thrive Allen County sponsored meetings identifying specific community needs in Moran.
“We talked about what we could do to make Moran better,” Ward said. “We had a list of 30 things. As we kept going we explored them all. Bus transportation to the pool was one of them.”
A walking trail through town and a community beautification project are two more efforts the group is currently tackling.
The success of the swim bus is something the town can be proud of, Ward said.
“I’m sure several of these kids wouldn’t have the opportunity to go swimming if we weren’t doing this,” Ward said.
Amazingly, “It’s all being paid for through donations,” Ward said.
Getting the bus going took a lot of support from a lot of places, she said. The school district provided the bus itself, while local businesses, individuals and organizations contributed funds to pay for drivers and fuel.
Volunteers ride with the students and stay with them at the pool while they are swimming.
Some of the donations came from Elsmore and Savonburg, Ward said. The two towns are also served by the bus.
The service is so appreciated, Ward said, that local churches are even promoting it through their congregations.
“We get $5 here, $10 there,” she said. “It all helps.”
“We raised almost $1,500,” Ward said. That should fund trips through the end of July if gas prices remain stable, she said.
Even the youth themselves have helped out, she noted.
Three girls in Moran, NaLea Alexander, Tanna Lutz and MacKenzie Tynon, had a lemonade stand one day to collect proceeds for the bus. They raised $71.09, Ward said. “We were thrilled,” she said.
The bus picks up students in Elsmore at 12:15 p.m., leaves Moran at 12:30 p.m. and arrives at the pool in Iola’s Riverside Park at 1 p.m.
They depart for the return trip at 3 o’clock.