|CVS/Samaritan Van Program Celebrates 25 Years of Helping Motorists on the Nation's Highways|
WOONSOCKET, R.I., Feb 5, 2003 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX/ --
-- The Program, Sponsored by CVS/Pharmacy, Provides Free Roadside Assistance in 9 Major Markets --
On the same day that the Blizzard of 1978 struck the Northeastern United States, a new emergency response vehicle made its timely debut on the highways of Providence, Rhode Island. The vehicle and its driver immediately began to provide assistance to motorists who were unexpectedly stranded by the sudden storm.
CVS/pharmacy (NYSE: CVS) launched its CVS/Samaritan Van program in Rhode Island on February 6, 1978, with a single van providing free roadside assistance to motorists in need. In that first year, the Van logged 53,000 miles, responded to 6,000 incidents and assisted 4,700 people.
Twenty-five years later, in 2003, the CVS/Samaritan Vans, patrolling highways in 9 major markets, have traveled a total of more than 7 million "help-miles" while responding to 740,000 incidents and assisting more than 800,000 people. The distinctive white vans with the red "CVS" logo have become a welcome and familiar site to commuters in Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Indianapolis, Providence and Washington, D.C.
"For 25 years, since the infamous Blizzard of '78, the CVS/Samaritan Van program has provided us with a unique opportunity to make a difference in the community by helping to keep people safe on our nation's highways," said Jack Kramer, Senior Vice President at CVS/pharmacy. "As the program has grown from a single van in one city to a fleet of vehicles in 9 CVS markets, we are very proud of the job our CVS/Samaritan Van drivers do in protecting our communities."
CVS/Samaritan Van drivers, who are trained mechanics, EMTs and crisis counselors rolled into one, are capable of making numerous on-site repairs, administering medical help, or using their communications equipment to summon police, rescue vehicles or tow trucks. All repairs, supplies and aid they provide are free-of-charge. Drivers undergo an intensive training program that includes instruction in hazardous material response, driver courtesy, emergency response/accident management, traffic reporting, and many other relevant procedures.
Public response to the CVS/Samaritan Vans is overwhelming. CVS receives over 6,000 letters and e-mails of thanks annually from people who have been assisted by the program.
Sample comments from motorists assisted by CVS/Samaritan Vans:
"The CVS/Samaritan was very helpful and kept checking on us to make sure we got our tow ... (When it) failed to come, he called another tow, took my family to their destination, and then dropped me off at the train station."
"I was cruising along in the morning rush hour when I had a flat. While contemplating what I should do, I looked up and saw the CVS/Samaritan Van. What luck! Two great guys had the tire changed in no time. I immediately went out and bought a lottery ticket."
"I am truly indebted to your CVS/Samaritan program. My company truck ran out of gas while I was on my way to a job. If your van had not stopped to help, I would have missed my appointment."
"What a lifesaver my sixteen-year-old daughter had a flat tire on the highway and your CVS/Samaritan was there within minutes to help her."
"The Samaritan program is wonderful, I was stuck on the inter belt bridge with a ladder under my car. Your CVS van was able to help and get me going again quickly and efficiently."
"I would like to thank your CVS/Samaritan for being so polite to me when my car broke down. I was scared and he made the whole terrible event safer. THANK YOU."
Over the course of 25 years, the CVS Samaritan Van program has received numerous awards and recognition, including Traffic Safety Awards from the National Safety Council and the Massachusetts Safety Council; the Outstanding Service Award from the American Red Cross; the Innovative Highway Finance Award for Partnerships from the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Authority; the Distinguished Contribution Award from the National Association of Counties; the Governors Award for Traffic Safety from the State of New York; and Certificates of Appreciation from the State Police in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island.
The CVS/Samaritan Van program currently operates in the following locations:
The CVS/Samaritan Van program is operated on behalf of CVS/pharmacy by Samaritania, Inc., located in Franklin, Massachusetts.
CVS is America's #1 pharmacy, dispensing prescriptions in more stores than any other retailer. With annual revenues that exceed $24 billion, CVS has created innovative approaches to serve the healthcare needs of all of its customers through more than 4,000 CVS/pharmacy stores; CVS ProCare, its specialty pharmacy business; CVS.com, its online pharmacy; and PharmaCare, its pharmacy benefit management company. General information about CVS is available through the Investor Relations portion of the Company's website, at http://www.CVS.com.
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