Food, medicine, doctor visits. If you don’t have access to wheels to get around Flint, you might as well be orbiting Saturn.
Ed Benning, CEO of the city’s Mass Transportation Authority (MTA), came up with ways to get residents rides where they needed to be and has been recognized for his efforts.
He has received a 2019 Hometown Health Hero award from the Michigan Public Health Week Partnership. The awards honor those who tackle healthy communities, violence prevention, rural health, technology and public health and climate change. They are presented very April as part of Michigan’s Public Health Week.
When Benning’s fellow citizens had trouble getting nutritious food along came Rides to Groceries. The service gets people to healthy foods and full-service grocery stores in Flint. It also covers Clio, Davison, Fenton, Flushing, Flint East, Flint West, Grand Blanc, Mt. Morris, Otisville and Swartz Creek.
Rides for Wellness is a non-emergency, door-to-door medical transportation service that gets people to their medical and wellness appointments on time. The program is only available to passengers connected with one of Rides to Wellness partner agencies. The partners include:
- Genesee County Department of Veterans Services
- Genesee Health Plan
- American Cancer
- Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS)
The Vets to Wellness program is a partnership between the MTA, Genesee County and the Genesee County Department of Veterans Services. It offers health and wellness related transportation to Genesee County Veterans and their spouses. Spouses who are in need of transportation must contact the Department of Veteran Services at 810-257-3068 to establish eligibility.
The service will be available for door to door pick up to appointments, grocery store and even VA hospitals in Saginaw, Ann Arbor and Detroit.
Benning also was instrumental in dealing with the water crisis. He directed the MTA to transport workers and supplies into neighborhoods and turned MTA locations into water storage and distribution centers.
Other Hometown Health Hero award recipients included:
- Lori Bennett – F-Sharp (Family Shelter Health Assessment and Referral program), Ypsilanti
- Laura Brott – St. Joseph County Human Service, Centreville
- Ele’s Place, Lansing
- Munson Healthcare Charlevoix Hospital School Nurse Program, Charlevoix
- Healthy Dearborn Coalition, Southfield
- Leanna Kermeen – Migrant Farmworker STD Testing/Treatment and Education, Holland
- Phil Pavona – Families Against Narcotics, Okemos
“The work of public health belongs to all of us,” says Robert Gordon, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services director. “Today I’m honored to celebrate a few individuals who have pointed the way. Some are Democrats, some are Republicans. Some are health professionals. Some are regular citizens who lives have been touched by tragedy. Some work in Detroit and some work in northern Michigan. All have found a way to make our people healthier and our state stronger.”