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80-year-old drivers help give back to Salt Lake County senior community

Posted at 6:22 PM, Sep 08, 2022

SALT LAKE CITY — Many home-bound seniors depend on services to not only bring them meals, but also to help them go to things like doctor appointments.

To help, two seniors both over the age of 80, are pitching in help those in need in their community.

Sheryle Cooper, 84, has been a driver for Meals on Wheels since 2001 and is one of the longest standing drivers in the Independent Aging Program from Salt Lake County's Aging and Adult Services.

"I like to stay busy, I like people, it's a great job," said Cooper. "It's nice to be able to visit real quick and get back to the next client."

Thursday morning, she delivered to one of her regular clients in Magna, 87-year-old Lois Magera.

"She is a very pleasant person to be around," said Magera.

Cooper said she often makes 50 to 55 of these stops on a typical day.

Another driver, 82-year-old Bill Johnson, said he had been driving for the program for the past 13 years.

"We take people over 60 to medical appointments, doctors, dentists, therapy, dialysis," said Johnson. "You pick up good boys and girls and you ride all over town and it's just like being back in high school.

One of those recipients is Bonnie Foerster who says she regularly gets a ride from Johnson to her doctor appointment.

"My heart just smiles, he always says he gets the unlucky straw because he gets me. He's a character," said Foerster. "Without the service, like it would cost me a lot of money to get to the doctors and living on social security, you don't get that much money."

Afton January, with Aging and Adult Services, says they have about 40 to 45 drivers through Meals on Wheels and Rides for Wellness. That number also includes both those paid and volunteers.

Even with that many, January says they are short by about a half dozen at the moment.

For anyone interested in working or volunteering their time with either program, you can visit https://slco.org/jobs or call them directly at (385)-468-3200.