For 30 years now, Dorothy Moton has headed out on her bus route, driving through the city of Elkhart and south to Nappanee. Dorothy sees familiar faces at every stop as ADEC clients happily board the bus to go to day services or get to work at ADEC Industries.
“My clients have become like family,” Dorothy said. “They help me appreciate life. If they can get on the bus with a smile and a good attitude each morning, why can’t I?”
When Dorothy started working at ADEC, the bus fleet still had some VW buses and transistor radios in the mix. The bus on the route she wanted came with a manual transmission. But Dorothy didn’t how to drive a stick shift.
After she was hired, another driver helped her out by teaching her not only the manual bus, but also how to drive the big trucks. Then Dorothy got to work on her nursing home route.
Each day was a workout. She loaded and unloaded 24 wheelchairs at nursing homes throughout Elkhart County. Some of the clients would go to ADEC Day Services at Bristol, while others had community appointments. Dorothy kept them moving.
During Dorothy’s time at ADEC, she’s enjoyed working alongside Jeff Schrock, now ADEC’s Transportation Manager. Jeff came to ADEC as a mechanic a few years before Dorothy started.
“Jeff is the best mechanic ADEC ever had,” Dorothy said. “I never heard him complain. We used to pump gas at the Bristol campus. And one day, I ran out of gas. I thought, ‘Oh, no. I hate to call Jeff.’ But I called him, and he said, ‘Ok, I’ll be there.’ No matter what happened, that’s always what he said.”
For 17 years of Dorothy’s ADEC career, she held down a second job at Martin’s Super Market. She worked shifts that fit in between her bus times so she could make it to both places. Dorothy smiled as she remembered how Jeff always worked with her to make sure her bus was fixed so she could make it to both jobs.
Now Jeff is Dorothy’s supervisor, and the respect is mutual.
“Dorothy is dependable,” Jeff said. “She’s reliable. She’s on time. She cares about the clients. And she cares about the family. And she’s done that for 30 years.”
Over the years, a few faces made a deep impression on Dorothy. Stephen Bishop rode her bus for several years, and she can just close her eyes and see him helping with opening and closing the doors at each stop. He’d board the bus each morning with a “Hello, Dorothy!”
Dorothy also appreciated her time working with people like Judy Noffsinger, former transportation manager, and Cary Kelsey, former vice president.
Her hardest moments came when someone on her bus route died. “It was kind of like a part of you died.”
Looking back on a 30-year career at ADEC, Dorothy offered this advice for new staff members, “If you have any problems, talk about it. ADEC’s a good place to work – it’s got good benefits and it’s laid back. If you like it, wait for the benefits to come because they will. If you have any problems, talk to someone about it. It can be solved.”