This is no stocking suffer; brand new van is on the way

Nancy Williams is preparing to unveil a Christmas gift for the seniors of Winthrop: a brand new $40,770 shuttle van.

The new van is the result of a grant from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. Williams, the director of the Winthrop Council on Aging /Senior Center, wrote the 25-page grant and submitted it through the Friends of the Council on Aging to the Department of Transportation in 2008.

In May, Williams received a letter stating that Winthrop was selected for the new van.

“It had been a long time since we had submitted the grant, so I had told my board of directors that I doubted that we were going to get it,” said Williams. “We were all ecstatic when we found out.”

Williams said the van will be delivered to the town in the next two weeks. The van seats 12 passengers and has a chair lift, air conditioning, all safety mechanisms and security cameras.

“We’ll use the van to transport people to and from the senior center, also for food shopping, medical appointments, and day trips,” said Williams, who added that the van drivers are Al Espinola and Ken Brandenberg.

The van’s arrival is coming at an opportune time, according to Williams.

“Our current van is nine years old and has more than 90,000 miles on it,” said Williams. “It still works pretty well. We may be giving the old van to the Parks and Recreation Department.”

Williams has been in touch with Department of Transportation officials to express her gratitude.

“I told them I am so excited that we have a new van and the people will be so thankful for a beautiful, comfortable new state-of-the-art vehicle,” said Williams. “Here it is the holidays – what better Christmas present could we get than a new van.”

Williams said she will schedule a ceremony for residents to welcome the new van to the center.

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