Shepherd’s Center’s client rides in style to mark 47,000th trip provided by volunteers

The driver for Black Tie Transportation helps Barbara Nowlin into a Cadillac Town Car for her trip to physical therapy.

Shepherd’s Center’s client rides in style to mark 47,000th trip provided by volunteers
November 14
06:54 2019

By Judie Holcomb-Pack

Barbara Nowlin never expected to be treated like royalty when she went for her last physical therapy appointment. She had been driven to medical appointments by the Shepherd Center of Greater Winston-Salem’s transportation volunteers for several weeks, but was surprised and excited to learn her last trip would also mark the 47,000th trip for the Shepherd’s Center. She said, “I got trembly” when she learned she would be riding in a Cadillac donated by Black Tie Transportation.

Nowlin’s daughter, Vanessa Westberry, had arranged for Shepherd Center’s volunteers to take her mother to her appointments and mentioned they had also assisted her father, so she felt comfortable and trusted the service they provide. She was excited to see her mother’s reaction as she was greeted by Wanda Starke, a WXII news reporter and long-time supporter of the Shepherd Center, who would also accompany Nowlin on her trip to the doctor.

The Shepherd’s Center started the transportation program in 2000 and Nowlin’s trip on Nov. 7 marked their 47,000th trip (each trip is usually two ways, there and back) according to Sam Matthews, the Shepherd Center’s executive director. He said that when Winston-Salem Churches in Ministry closed in 2003, the Shepherd’s Center assumed their transportation ministry, and the need has grown ever since. Transportation volunteers also take clients to shop for groceries or to pick up medications. Although they have 80 volunteers, they need more and when volunteers are not available, they arrange for taxi service.

Funding to cover some of the cost of transportation, such as cab fees and mileage reimbursement for volunteers, comes from a grant from the Federal Transportation Program for Seniors and Disabled, administered through the Winston-Salem Department of Transportation. Donations to the program are always welcome. 

Linda Lewis, Shepherd Center’s associate director, said that the transportation program is part of their Faith in Action program. She said that in 2018, they assisted 1,200 older adults with 4,000 requests for transportation and that they averaged 100 trips a week. 

Nowlin said that having this service has been a blessing to her. She said, “I’m the lucky one! I finish rehab today!” Speaking to the volunteers before her trip began, she said, “You all are wonderful and believe in helping people. I appreciate it and being with you all.”

Carl Baker, a transportation volunteer for 11 years who has logged in 150 trips and 1,500 miles, would be bringing Nowlin back from her doctor’s appointment. He said, “I dearly love doing this. Being retired is one thing, but having a place to retire to is wonderful.” 

For more information on the Shepherd’s Center or how to volunteer for their transportation program, visit

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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