This week, May 12 through 16, North Country Hospital employees have been enjoying fresh air and the camaraderie of their co-workers by opting to bike, walk or carpool to work. The hospital is participating in Way to Go! Week, an annual celebration of the benefits of trading in the solo drive to work. They join nearly 200 employers and thousands of employees across the state.
North Country Hospital signed up for the event so employees can save money on commuting and feel proud to be part of something bigger, that will result in cleaner air for Vermont, said Development and Community Relations Director Wendy Franklin. "This type of program is a real challenge in a rural area such as ours, with many employees living 15 or more miles from the hospital, working differing shifts, or having to drop off children at day care. Participating staff are coming up with creative ways to make it work such as driving part way and biking in to town or trying it for one or two days." As of Friday morning, hospital employees have saved 2,047 miles traveled and 1,324 pounds of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Employees, individuals and other organizations may continue to sign up throughout the week of May 12-16.
Very recently, the hospital was the recipient of a Gold Worksite Wellness Award from the Governor's Council on Physical Fitness & Sports, in conjunction with the VT Department of Health. The award honors worksites for providing a culture of wellness for employees, and Way to Go! Week gives hospital employees the opportunity to continue that trend.
"Not only is this good for our environment, it supports North Country Hospital's commitment to improve the health of our community," states hospital CEO Claudio Fort. The hospital was recently joined in the event by The North Country Career Center and Northeast Kingdom Community Action.
Way to Go! Week is promoted around the Northeast Kingdom by the Northeastern Vermont Development Association and Rural Community Transportation. RCT offers several bus lines serving commuters, including the Highlander route from Derby Line to Newport City. As the regional planning commission and economic development corporation for the Northeast Kingdom, NVDA supports use and development of alternative modes of transportation, such as biking, walking, public transit and car and van pools.
Individuals and employers statewide are invited to sign up for the Way to Go! Week at www.waytogovt.org . Businesses, schools, and communities with the highest percentage of participants will be recognized at an award ceremony in late June. Info on RCT bus routes is at www.rideRCT.org .
Way to Go! is supported by a wide network of 35 partner and sponsor organizations from around Vermont, including lead partner the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation.