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4×4 to the rescue: Group ensures Island hospital staff make it to work amid heavy snow

Many healthcare workers across Vancouver Island can thank a group of 4×4 drivers for their safe journey to and from work amid recent heavy snowfall.

The ‘VI Toyota 4×4 & VIHA Staff Transportation‘ Facebook group started three years ago and continues to grow with over 5,000 members and counting.

But it’s not just Toyotas. According to group admin and Port McNeill driver Ashley Tapp, it’s all makes of 4x4s, including Jeeps and Chevys.

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“We live to do this,” Tapp tells Vista Radio. “Not only are they out in the snow driving around in their 4×4, but they’re doing a good deed at the same time. It gives you that warm fuzzy feeling inside.”

When road conditions are unsafe, locals between Victoria and Port Hardy who work at hospitals and other healthcare facilities often post to the page asking for a ride.

They then share their location and desired pick-up time, with the closest 4×4 driver coming to the rescue, making sure they make it to work on time.

“They wait for a driver to see that post, grab it and say, ‘Hey, I can come to get you.’ That’s how it works,” explains Tapp.

“It’s been the busiest we’ve ever been with this group,” she says, noting it’s not just the healthcare workers who are appreciative but their patients as well.

“They’re happy, appreciative, and so thankful and nice to our drivers. They either offer to buy them a coffee or donate gas money,” Tapp exclaims.

In fact, some have become so accustomed to the service that they’ve grown to know the drivers quite well.

“It’s come to the point where you find that driver who works for you and is in your area. I know of many people who are on a first-name basis with each other,” Tapp adds. “People have made friends in this group, and they just communicate with each other.”

Last Thursday, Jan. 6, Island Health sent out a “big heartfelt thank-you” to the Van Isle Toyota 4×4 club and others “who have helped our healthcare workers get to work in the snow on this winter morning!”

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