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Give the Gift of Independence for #GivingTuesday

It’s Giving Tuesday! Today, charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students around the world are coming together to support the charitable causes close to their hearts.

You can join this tradition of generosity by donating to OATS Transit. We’re committed to making a difference in people’s lives, as reflected in the following story.

Ricky Perron (pictured above) was a regular rider of OATS Transit. Sadly, he passed away on March 30, 2021 at the age of 68. Ricky was mentally disabled, but he didn't let that hold him back. He gained independence through OATS Transit by getting transported to and from work every week.

Ricky began working at Florissant Valley Sheltered Workshop in 1974 at the age of 21. They provided developmentally disabled individuals with meaningful work in a caring, safe environment. The name was later changed to Valley Industries. In 2016, he was Worker of the Year. He retired on Thursday, March 25, 2021 after 47 years. He rode with OATS Transit for many of those years. His time at Valley Industries holds the record for longest male employee to ever work at the workshop. He was described by his co-workers as "The Little Engine that Could."

He cared strongly for others and their safety. Every time he rode an OATS Transit bus, he would tell his driver to "drive carefully." Ricky also loved art and his friends and family.

Ricky's family described the impact OATS Transit had on his life: "It's easy to overlook all the services that went into giving Ricky as much independence as possible. OATS Transit drivers cared for Ricky and made it possible for him to get to and from work safely for so many years."

Ricky's sister, Mary, recently sent OATS Transit a note regarding our 50th Anniversary Booklet where we included a picture and a small paragraph about Ricky.

The note reads:

"Dear Jill,

I received the OATS Transit "Celebrating 50 Years" booklets featuring a story on my brother Ricky Perron.

What a lovely memorial to Ricky - oh how he would have loved seeing his picture and story in your book!

Thank you for remembering to send our family copies of the book. I really enjoyed reading all the articles and history of OATS, and I will share the booklet with all my siblings.

I live in Jefferson County and I think of Ricky every time I see an OATS Transit van. Your good and reliable services helped Ricky and our family in more ways than just 'transportation.'


Mary Lewis and Perron Family"

You can view the original note below.

Ricky Perron Family Note
Download PDF • 317KB

On this GivingTuesday, give someone the gift of independence. Much like Ricky, many of our riders rely on OATS Transit for transportation. Your support allows us to continue to provide safe, caring, and reliable transportation services.

Will you consider donating to OATS Transit? We simply can't do what we do without your support. No dollar amount is too small. Help provide transportation to thousands of individuals in Missouri by donating today.

To donate, visit or send a check payable to OATS Transit at 2501 Maguire Blvd. Ste. 101, Columbia, MO 65201.

Thank you to the Perron family. We are so thankful to have known Ricky and miss him dearly.

"Enhancing quality of life by providing safe, caring, and reliable transportation services.

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