(WATERTOWN, NY) – The Volunteer Transportation Center, Inc. (VTC) is proud to announce it has received $5,000 from Excellus BlueCross BlueShield in support of events the nonprofit organization will host in 2020. The funding from the health insurance company will be recognized with Underwriter Level sponsorship of all VTC events this year and will benefit services provided by the organization across Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence Counties.

“Access to healthcare services is critical to good health, yet many rural and elderly residents often lack the resources, including transportation, to get the care they need,” said Excellus BlueCross BlueShield Regional President Eve Van de Wal. “Our mission – to help people in our communities live healthier and more secure lives through access to high-quality, affordable health care – aligns perfectly with that of the Volunteer Transportation Center. We are proud supporters of the work they do for this region.”

“We thank Excellus BlueCross BlueShield for their support and for recognizing the importance of our mission here in the North Country,” said Sam Purington, Executive Director of the VTC. “Every day, our volunteer drivers transport people in our communities to necessary medical appointments, helping them maintain their overall health and wellness. Our mission matches perfectly with that of Excellus BlueCross BlueShield.”

“We are excited to have the support of Excellus BlueCross BlueShield and are happy to promote that support at the events we will host this year, starting with our 21st Annual North Country Chili Cook-Off,” said VTC Foundation Director Jeremiah S. Papineau.

The cook-off was held Saturday, Feb. 1, at the Dulles State Office Building, 317 Washington St., Watertown, and featured 30 amateur and professional chefs who will compete for great prizes.

“And that’s just the tip of the iceberg,” said Mr. Papineau. “Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, through its financial support of the VTC, will serve as an Underwriter for our Posh Purse Palooza this May, our golf tournament in St. Lawrence County in July, our golf tournament in Lewis County in September and our Mac and Cheese Cook-Off in Potsdam this November, just to name a few events. We can’t thank them enough for their support.”


Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, is a nonprofit health plan with 1.5 million upstate New York members. The company’s mission is to help people live healthier and more secure lives through access to high-quality, affordable health care. Its products and services include cost-saving prescription drug discounts, wellness tracking tools and access to telemedicine.

With more than 3,500 employees, the company is committed to attracting and retaining a diverse workforce to foster innovation and better serve its members. It also encourages employees to engage in their communities by providing paid volunteer time off as one of many benefits. To learn more, visit www.ExcellusBCBS.com.


The Volunteer Transportation Center, Inc. (VTC), established in 1991, drives thousands of miles each year assisting community members in Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence Counties. Over the last 20 years, this essential non-profit organization has provided rides to health care appointments, grocery shopping, and other destinations for residents.

In 2019, our volunteer drivers provided 30,356 charitable trips over 912,866 miles in Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence Counties, an increase in miles of 17.47% over 2018. Of those miles, 424,290 originated in Jefferson County, 141,190 in Lewis County, and 347,386 in St. Lawrence County.

The staff, Board of Directors and volunteer drivers look forward to a time when transportation to community activities and services is accessible to all North Country residents regardless of economic or specialized needs. But for now the mission drives on — striving to provide transportation to health, wellness and critical needs destinations utilizing volunteers and mobility management for anyone who has barriers to transportation.

For more information about how you can help the Volunteer Transportation Center, about its upcoming events, or to become a volunteer driver, contact the agency at 315-788-0422. To learn more, visit www.VolunteerTransportationCenter.org.

CAPTION: Jeremiah S. Papineau, Foundation Director for the Volunteer Transportation Center, Inc., holds a ceremonial check with Eve Van de Wal, Regional President for Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. The health insurance company awarded the VTC $5,000 in support of events the nonprofit organization will host this year.