For Dana and Ken LaRue, taking the road less traveled has made all the difference.
The founders of Non-Emergency Transport and now Quality Transports & Limo were working together on a trip to take a rider from the Lutheran Home in Muscatine to the Pizza Ranch to meet family for dinner. Dana asked Ken why he was driving through town along the riverfront as opposed to taking the bypass. Their client spoke up: “It’s okay I’m enjoying the view. I haven’t seen the river in years.”
“This business is very rewarding,” says Dana. “We really never thought about what business we would start, we just thought there might be a need to help with rides from the hospital or nursing home.”
In December of 2011, the company’s very first trip was to take a gentleman home to see his family for Christmas day. In those days Ken was doing all the driving with one vehicle. Today the company has grown to a fleet of 26 vehicles and a staff of 40. The most recent big additions to their fleet include a 12-passenger limo and a 21-passenger bus.
Meeting people, Ken says, is one of the best parts about the business.
“We’re privileged to be able to help so many people,” said Ken. “Sometimes our clients have needs and challenges and to help is just the right thing to do.”
Dana adds, “Riders thank us for providing such a good service. We’re able to provide that service because we have great people that work for us. They care about our riders and become friends with them. They just are good people.”
Helping people get from one place to another is simply the service Non-Emergency Transport provides.
The majority of rides provided are to some sort of healthcare appointment in and around Muscatine, to Iowa City, to Cedar Rapids, and to the Quad Cities. Now with the addition of the limo and bus, the company can provide larger groups of riders with a wide variety of transportation needs.
Hotel / airport trips, plant tours, weddings, concerts, casino runs, and sight-seeing trips are a few of the special event services the Quality Transports & Limo division of the company offers.
According to Ken, a family with roots in Kalona, Iowa, recently used their services for a group outing.
“They wanted to see the old stuff,” says Ken. “We drove them by the old family farm, to the family cemetery, and we took them to an old country store.”
Another group has used the limo multiple times for concerts in Cedar Rapids and Moline, and to take everyone together to a family birthday. Dana says the family likes to be able to ride and spend the time together in one vehicle.
Although the couple initially thought this might be a ‘nice, little retirement business’, Dana and Ken LaRue are humbled by how it has grown. They have been able to serve clients by providing multiple trips to the Mayo Clinic, Chicago, and even Omaha, Nebraska. One family called to get a ride for their elderly aunt living in Iowa City to a wedding in Chicago.
For Dana, one really rewarding ride they hosted was to transport a group of their regular special-needs adult riders to a Christmas turkey dinner.
Helping people get to where they are going is the simple difference the LaRues and their company makes for those who need a ride. And sometimes, the road less traveled offers the best view.