April 23, 2018
Contact: Matt Gurwell, Founder & CEO, Keeping Us Safe, LLC
(877) 907-8841 or firstname.lastname@example.org
(Ft. Collins, CO) – Keeping Us Safe is proud to announce that Leslie Roy, PT, and Jill Couch, MS, OT/L are the sole recipients of the 2017 “Bill and Betty Fresch Outstanding Achievement Award.”
The award, considered the most prestigious award given by Keeping Us Safe offers, is presented annually to the Certified “Beyond Driving with Dignity” Professional(s) that best exemplify the role of that position.
As “Beyond Driving with Dignity” Professionals, Roy and Couch serve as facilitators for Keeping Us Safe’s ‘self-assessment program’ for older drivers. This individualized program serves as a valuable tool in helping older drivers (and their concerned families) make appropriate decisions regarding the future of their loved-one’s safe driving career.
This national award is named after the late Bill & Betty Fresch, who died in a Maryland farm field after becoming lost on what was always a routine 40-minute drive home from their daughter Jo Rinehart’s residence. The January 13, 2011, Washington Post article reporting the tragedy read “Elderly couple found frozen to death after getting lost during drive”.
Keeping Us Safe and the Fresch family have since partnered to help similar tragedies from happening to other families. “The Fresch family has been very gracious in sharing their very difficult story with others” says Matt Gurwell, founder of Keeping Us Safe. “As difficult as it is to talk about the incident, they have risen above that and see the sharing of their story as an opportunity to help others deal with this very delicate and emotional situation, before tragedy strikes their family” concluded Gurwell.
In September 2013, Roy and Couch joined forces and co-founded Pro 31 Safe Senior Driver. Their company provides services throughout northern Colorado and into Wyoming and Nebraska to older drivers that may be experiencing an age-related diminishment in driving abilities.
Leslie Roy is a University of Colorado graduate and is a licensed physical therapist. She has many years of experience working with seniors in acute care, outpatient, home health, and
skilled nursing settings. She became certified as a “Beyond Driving with Dignity” Professional in October 2013.
Jill Couch holds a Bachelor of Science degree and a Master of Science degree from Colorado State University in occupational therapy. She, too, has many years of experience working with seniors in various settings and has held a variety of volunteer leadership positions within her profession. She became certified as a “Beyond Driving with Dignity” Professional in August 2013. Both Roy and Couch are also Certified Dementia Practitioners and CarFit technicians.
Matt Gurwell, a retired Ohio State Trooper and founder of Keeping Us Safe explains “Our ‘Beyond Driving with Dignity’ program is designed to save lives while simultaneously helping to ease the burden of the family as they find themselves faced with the very challenging issue of an elderly parent’s diminishing driving skills.”
Gurwell added “Both Leslie and Jill possess education backgrounds and inter-personal skills that allow them to provide a very professional and compassionate approach to working with older drivers who’s driving skills may have diminished as a result of the natural aging process. They excel at what they do, as is evidenced by the positive comments we receive from family members and professionals that have worked with each of these two ladies.”
Roy and Couch are members of the Northern Colorado Senior Transportation Coalition, Partnership for Age-Friendly Communities, Colorado Older Driver Coalition, and the Larimer County Senior Education and Network Group. In addition to concerned family members, they routinely receive referrals for Keeping Us Safe’s ‘self-assessment program’ for older drivers from local physicians, nurse practitioners and care/case managers.
“Leslie and Jill were selected as the recipients of this award because of their long history of enriching the lives of older adults. In addition to being very well respected in the community, both ladies exemplify the standards and core values of Keeping Us Safe. The compassion and empathy they each demonstrate while helping older drivers with diminished skills make a smooth transition from the driver’s seat to the passenger seat make them invaluable assets to the Keeping Us Safe team.” says Gurwell.
Jeanne Nagle, Jo Rinehart and Paul Fresch (adult children of the late Bill & Betty Fresch) explain “The Fresch family appreciates the good work done by Keeping Us Safe. We are honored that our parents’ story can be used by this program to help others. We extend our sincere thanks to Leslie and Jill for their unwavering enthusiasm and dedication to this cause.”