The daily temperatures were around 95 degrees in Southern California when a woman with dementia had gone missing with no food, water or medicine for over 24 hours. Though many caretakers and volunteers searched for the woman after she disappeared, she was wearing clothing that made it difficult to spot her in the thick of the brush.
After riding with Calaveras Transit
from Valley Springs to San Andreas, the transit service was informed that the
woman may be missing and requested more information. An extensive search began
to find her. Though all hands were on deck, the caretakers, search volunteers
and staff from Calaveras Transit were unable to find the passenger.
Livier Rodriguez, a paratransit driver
for Calaveras Transit, went out after her route ended to begin her own search
for the passenger. Like the people who began the search before her, Rodriguez
was unsuccessful on the first day. On the second day that the passenger was
missing, Cynthia Lawerence, the General Manager of Calaveras Transit received a
request to put up flyers on local routes and buses.
Once Rodriguez received word that the
passenger was still missing, she became very concerned and embarked on her
second day of the search. Determined to find the passenger, Rodriguez would not
give up and still continued even after her shift ended.
Rodriguez walked the trails behind the
Government Center in San Andreas. Remarkably, her two day search paid off when she
found the passenger in thick brush near the library. Rodriguez sat with the
passenger, gave her water, asked if she’d been hurt and called for assistance.
wins Q’straint/Sure-Lok Above and Beyond Award
Each year, CalACT awards the
Q’Straint/ Sure-Lok Above and Beyond Award to a driver or dispatcher who has
excelled above the call of duty in service to passengers with special needs.
This year, that award was given to Livier Rodriguez for her diligence, patience
and success while looking for the missing passenger.
“Livier is our angel,” said Shana
Molotch, one of the passenger’s caretakers who initially noticed she had gone
missing. “She saved a life today."