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Kid One offers medical transport

Transportation is one of the biggest barriers that can prevent people from receiving much needed medical care.

While federal transportation money is available to the elderly and disabled, it is harder to come by for children and expectant mothers. The additional burdens of expensive auto repairs and high gas prices compound this problem.

Fortunately, there is a group that provides free transportation for children in need of medical, dental or mental health care services; and for expectant mothers right here in Chilton County.

Kid One is a nonprofit organization founded in 1997 by Hoover firefighter Russell Jackson, who realized the need after answering a call to an unresponsive child.

“I have the greatest job in the world,” said Kid One Executive Director Karen Peterlin. “When I get up in the morning, I make a difference in children’s lives.”

Kid One regularly serves 176 families in Chilton County with buses based in Montevallo and Montgomery.

Other buses are based in Jefferson, St. Clair, Walker and Tuscaloosa counties.

In 2008, about 300 transports were conducted in the Chilton County area at no cost to the clients.

“You can give people all the insurance in the world, but if they can’t get to the doctor it doesn’t mean a thing,” Peterlin said.

Kid One relies totally on donations and sponsorships to operate. Some clients may be eligible for transportation vouchers through Medicaid.

The organization also receives federal grants to replace old buses. Starting in January, a wheelchair accessible bus will be stationed in Montgomery and will serve residents in Chilton County.

But like any nonprofit group, Kid One is feeling the impact of an economic recession.

“Our challenge in these economic times is that the number of clients we serve is up 20 percent, but our denials are also up 40 percent,” Peterlin explained.

While corporate funding is down about 43 percent, funding in other areas is up slightly, she added.

“For each client we serve, there are about 25 more waiting,” Peterlin said.

Anyone who knows someone in need of transportation is encouraged to contact Kid One by calling (205) 978-1000 or (800) 543-7143 or logging on to www.kidone.org.