by Roma Vivas
MIDLAND- The organization is called Mission Center and they have been in the Permian Basin for more than 20 years. But their fuel costs are becoming higher than they can handle and their transportation problems don't end there.
"We are in need of a new bus or two actually news busses. One of them is a 1996 and it has over 200 thousand miles on it and the other one is a 2000 bus and it has almost 150 thousand miles on it, and they are both diesel," Mission Center Executive Director Terry Smith, said.
Right now, Mission Center has about 25 patients who have a medical condition and can't be left home alone, many of them need to be picked up from their homes and later brought back. These buses make their rounds through Midland and Odessa twice a day which is making their mileage add up.
"With Alzheimers' you have to have constant care, because they will wander and they can get away form you and we as a facility have the guards that keep that from happening," Smith said.
Deborah Fitts has worked in the center for more than 8 years and she says there are patients who have been at the center for almost two decades.
"We know them as much as you know your family, you know how to tease them and you have a lot of time with them and you just make it like you are having fun," Mission Center Activity Director Deborah Fitts, said.
For now, the center is currently seeking funds from other agencies, but they don't know how long they can keep up with the high costs of fuel and maintenance.
"With the families that we work with if they didn't have our service they could not go to work at all. They would have to stay home taking care of their loved ones or they would be putting them in nursing homes, we are the step before the nursing home," Smith said.