Lee Roy Simmons , a resident of Blue Mountain Senior Villas in Grand Terrace, is a familiar face on Omnigo Route 325. “I ride the loop most mornings,” he says. “I like the drivers. Most of them know me, and we talk during stop layovers. I also like catching up with the other regulars on the route. I’ve always been a social person and like meeting new people.”
A former cop, Lee was forced to retire from the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department when a drunk driver slammed into his patrol car. He was thrown from the vehicle, severely injuring his back upon impact. He’s proud of his service as a Deputy Sheriff. “I was the cop who never moved out of the hood. Unlike a lot of others, I stayed in the same neighborhood I grew up in. Drug dealers, hookers, gang bangers–everybody knew me. I was a good cop, an honest cop, and people respected me for it.”
Lee is also a former Marine Sergeant who fought for more than 2 years in Vietnam. “I have to to the VA hospital in Loma Linda all the time for treatments,” he says. “I have asthma, emphysema, COPD [Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease] and black lung disease, which I got from breathing in smoke from bombs we used in the war.”
“This is why OmniGo gives me such a peace. I have no other way to get to where I need to go,” Lee explains. “I can’t drive, and I can’t even walk a block. I can’t do anything without having that bus to make the trek down the hill. It’s that important.”
Samella Hendrix, another Blue Mountain Senior Villas resident, agrees.”We can’t get around without OmniGo,” she said simply. “I’ve had a couple of strokes that prevent me from standing or walking for very long. The Access bus is $2.50 each way but that’s way too expensive for those of us on a limited income. I like to get out to go to church, bowling, and the theatre, but without OmniGo for transportation, I’d be stuck.”
– Juno Kughler Carlson
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