Katherine Freund’s life changed 30 years ago when an elderly driver ran over her son, giving him a brain injury. Her son recovered, but the incident remained cemented in her memory.
“Right after that I went back to school to study public policy and I realized that what had happened to me, my little boy, and my family was part of something much, much larger,” Freund told Everyday Heroes Radio.
A question nagged her: How could she help?
“My thinking was that if older people had something that did meet their needs, that they would be able to make good choices about whether they should be driving,” Freund said. “It turns out to be absolutely true, people make good choices.”
So, Freund decided to see which ways she could help transport senior citizens. Soon, the Independent Transportation Network (ITNAmerica) was born, built on a model decades ahead of its time. ITNAmerica created a transportation network company, similar to car sharing today, 20 years before companies like Uber appeared on the market.
“We started one as a nonprofit, not a for-profit,” Freund clarified. “We used information technology software to connect the system and we created a model here in Portland. And it was created to be just like having a private automobile at your disposal. It provides service in a car 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can use the service for any purpose. You can go where you want to go and do what you want to do.”
From a small start in Portland to crossing the United States, ITNAmerica is doing good for thousands of seniors.