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ETS driver one of many just trying to help out 'wherever… whenever' in pandemic
EDMONTON -- Derek Bailey is just doing his part.
"In times of great need, it's important for all of us to recognize the needs of others and try and help out wherever we can, whenever we can," he says.
Bailey is one of eight ETS drivers who bus hundreds of homeless and vulnerable Edmontonians between downtown agencies and the EXPO Centre.
Their buses have been retrofitted with plastic dividers to limit driver exposure, physical distancing rules are in effect, and vehicles are rigorously being cleaned, ETS has said.
Nonetheless, the job he volunteered for is not without its risks.
"Am I still scared? Absolutely. But I think that's normal at this time of COVID crisis."
He added, "I can't see myself asking someone else to do something I can do personally."
ETS Branch Manager Eddie Robar said the commitment by Bailey and the other drivers ensures people are connected to work, groceries, shelter and health supports.
"We're very grateful to all of our operators and staff, including Derek, for their dedication and frontline service during this challenging time."
It's not the first time Bailey's selflessness has helped someone else: Last winter, he found a man nearly frozen to death in a bus shelter along his route. The man survived, thanks to Bailey stopping and calling an ambulance.
"When COVID-19 finally comes to an end, which I'm hoping will be sooner rather than later, I want to walk away knowing that I did everything that I could."
The EXPO Centre has an isolation shelter open 24 hours a day for those showing COVID-19 symptoms, and a day drop-in space for those who do not have symptoms but need to practice physical distancing. It is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week. Overnight shelter is being provided at Kinsmen.
With a report from CTV News Edmonton's Jeremy Thompson