Chariot has been delivering exemplary senior transportation services to the community in one guise or another since 1988. Our pre-Chariot name, Drive a Senior Central Texas (DASCTX) was created in 2019 to clarify, and call attention to, the ever-expanding service area we now encompass: South Austin, Southwest Austin, Lakeway, northern Hays County and Elgin. The combination of three different Drive a Senior groups and our expansion into underserved neighborhoods and rural areas has resulted in a more impactful and efficient program. We recognize and appreciate the collaboration over the years with other greater Austin nonprofits with whom we share a similar mission. We are committed to enabling our rapidly growing aging population to age in place and look forward to continued collaboration with organizations who share our vision of every senior in central Texas having access to transportation, enabling them to age in place and enrich their quality of life.
The beginnings of Chariot goes back to 1988. Sister Madeleine Sophie Weber, faculty member at St. Edward’s University, was the impetus for the formation of South Austin Caregivers. One of her graduate students helped organize the West Austin Caregivers in 1985. In her application to the IRS, Sister acknowledged, “West Austin Caregivers (Drive a Senior West Austin) was instrumental in providing assistance during the formation of the South Austin Caregivers group.” The university did not have funds to support Sister Madeleine’s program; however, her resourceful determination brought support from the faith community.
In the summer of 2008, Southwest Austin Caregivers was formed as a faith-based 501(c)(3) initially sponsored by Westlake United Methodist Church, Westlake Hills Presbyterian Church, St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, Riverbend Church, St. John Neumann Catholic Church and Life Austin Church. Initial funding, board members and volunteer drivers were primarily recruited from these congregations. Stratus Properties and a generous family foundation provided critical multi-year financial support during the start-up years.
Over the years, South Austin Caregivers changed their DBA a few times and in 2013 became Drive a Senior South (DAS South). In spring 2019, their board voted to combine with DASCTX.
Also In 2013, Southwest Austin Caregivers was changed to Drive a Senior Southwest. Between 2013 and 2019, DAS SW expanded into Lakeway, Bee Cave and neighborhoods along FM 620. In early 2019, the legal name was changed to DASCTX and the board voted to approve combining with DAS South to form a single entity with the same mission.
In July 2019, DASCTX expanded to serve seniors living in more rural northern Hays County. Then in late 2019, the board of DASCTX was approached by the board of Drive a Senior Elgin about the possibility of also combining with DASCTX. That combination was legally executed in March 2020.
There are other non-profits in the Austin MSA that share a similar mission, each with their own boards, fundraising and staffs:
Drive a Senior ATX
Drive a Senior Northwest
Faith in Action Caregivers (Georgetown)
Senior Access (Round Rock, Pflugerville, Hutto, Manor and parts of northeast Austin)
To minimize confusion for our donors, clients, volunteers and community partners and to set apart our expanding services, a rebranding of the DASCTX name, logo and tagline was executed in 2021 to Chariot, We’re Driving Your Thriving.
Chariot enriches lives and communities by providing transportation and socialization to non-driving seniors, helping them to age in place.
Most of Lorene’s career has been working in Human Resources for Fortune 500 companies, including IBM, Dell and Newisys, a start-up. In addition to this experience, she most recently worked for Pedernales Electric Cooperative, a power distribution company. She has managed all functions within the human resources area including compensation and benefits, staffing, management and employee development and morale management. These functions required providing advice and counsel to all levels of management on ‘managing the human asset’, developing and deploying process policies, practices and procedures.
She has served on several boards of directors including Austin Humane Society, House of Hope, Communities for Recovery, Impact Austin and most recently Chariot. Her positions on the boards include Secretary, President and working with various committees. Lorene is the Chariot Board Chair-Elect and Chair of the Governance & Nominations Committee,
Lorene spends her retirement time volunteering for several non-profit organizations, beading and doing other crafty activities. She earned a Bachelor of Science Degree from Alabama A&M University.
After employment at Nike, Microsoft and Apple, Cyndi Cummings found her true passion is helping seniors. Cyndi employs her knowledge and experience into her career as a REALTOR® and specializes in Senior Move Management, working with seniors and their families. Cyndi has obtained a variety of prominent designations and certificates to help her best serve her clients.
Cyndi is also passionate about community service and serves her community in a variety of ways. She is the President of Lake Travis Senior Services, a non-profit organization serving seniors in the Lakeway, Texas area. In addition, Cyndi is proud to serve as the Chair of AustinUP, Founder of Austin Senior Resource Alliance. Cyndi’s serves as Secretary for the Chariot Board.
In her free time, Cyndi loves spending time with her family, especially her grandson Thomas. She earned a BS in Business Administration from Oregon State University.
Allison Wetzel is a lawyer who spent many years as a prosecutor and now has a private legal practice focusing on training, consulting and victim advocacy.
She serves as a deacon, choir member and handbell ringer at her church. She has served on the boards of directors for The Girls’ School of Austin and the Weavers and Spinners Society of Austin. In her free time, Allison is a weaver and is learning to spin. She and her family enjoy traveling to Colorado as often as they can.
Steve has held engineering leadership roles with Compaq/HP, IBM, Lenovo, Emerson, and Dell. He currently leads an engineering team at Dell that delivers a roadmap hyperconverged platforms.
Steve and his wife of 35 years, Wendy, raised three children and have started over, adopting two great kids through the foster process. Five acres, 5 children, 7 grandchildren, 3 dogs, 1 cat, and 7 chickens keep things interesting at home.
Steve is new to the Chariot board and excited to advance Chariot’s mission in support of the wonderful seniors across the communities we serve.
Erwin is a native Austinite and is focused on giving back to his community. He graduated from The University of Texas at Austin in 2010, majoring in Finance, and his background includes working in the investment management industry, owning a bus business, and now leading the finances at his family’s manufacturing business.
In 2019, Erwin was on the board of the Young Hispanic Professional Association of Austin, helping lead their annual, gala fundraiser. He’s currently joining the board of Todos Juntos Learning Center. In his spare time, he enjoys frequenting local coffee shops and walking around Town Lake. Erwin hopes to bring a new perspective to Chariot while learning from everyone else!
Courtney brings more than 18 years of experience driving large scale transformation efforts and merger integrations that leverage process improvement, organization design, and technology to drive results. She has worked with clients across various industries, including energy, telecom, industrial services, food and beverage, and commercial real estate. She now hopes to take what she’s learned as a partner and now Sr. Advisor in a Management Consulting practice and apply that towards helping the Senior citizen community in Austin. Through watching her grandmother strive to maintain her independence even when she couldn’t drive, Courtney is passionate about Chariot’s mission and vision.
Courtney is also involved as a board member of the Eanes Elementary PTO and Rollingwood Women’s Club. In her free time she enjoys exploring Austin with her 2 daughters and husband, running, Pilates, and traveling. Ms. Harvey earned a bachelor’s degree in finance and an MBA from Texas Tech University.
With a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from Texas Christian University and a Master of Science in Nursing degree from UT Austin, Ron has held many traditional and extended roles in nursing. He served in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps specializing in neonatal, pediatric and adult critical care. Ron then became involved in pre-hospital emergency medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center – San Antonio. After moving to the Austin area in 1993, he worked at Round Rock Hospital as the Director, Intensive Care and later as the Emergency Department Trauma Coordinator. From Round Rock, he went to the Texas Department of State Health Services where he ran the state trauma program and after 9/11, set up the Texas Hospital Preparedness program for the state. In 2005, He also worked with the National Emergency Response and Rescue Training Center. After retiring from the State, Ron became an Associate Professor of Nursing at Concordia University Texas and was the Assistant Director for the Traditional BSN Program until his retirement in 2018.
Today, Ron is active in volunteer work with the American Red Cross and his local Community Emergency Response Team. He is active with the Texas Nurses Association at both the district and state level. Mr. Hilliard worked with the Drive A Senior Elgin as a Board member for several years and now is a board member for Chariot. He is active in his local church where he plays guitar and sings and co-teaches the senior adult Sunday Bible Study.
Pat’s professional career was in education where she served in various positions including teacher, teacher fellow and technology coordinator. Pat continues to work with students as a volunteer “reading buddy” and also serves on her church Vestry.
Pat began volunteering for Drive a Senior in 2006 and has served on the boards of directors for Drive a Senior Northeast Austin, Senior Access, Drive a Senior Network and Drive a Senior Central Texas. Her positions on these boards have included Secretary and President and worked on various committees. She currently serves as Chariot Volunteer Committee Chair and Care Committee Chair.
Pat enjoys traveling, reading, writing, piano, guitar and spending time with her growing family. She grew up in the Texas panhandle and graduated with a BA in English with minors in Chemistry, French and Computer Science. She continued her education earning a MS in Biology and worked in research prior to choosing a career path to education.
Elizabeth is a trilingual fundraising professional who contributes strongly to development and finance operations. She’s raised over $2 million for Central Texas nonprofits through long-term donor investment, award-winning grant seeking, strategic planning for marketing and events, and volunteer engagement. She has pledged her career to drive change and facilitate positive outcomes for our Central Texas community.
Elizabeth is an active member of The Junior League of Austin, a Fellow of the Texas Governor’s Commission for Women, serves on the Global Finance and Investment Committee for The Association of Fundraising Professionals, fosters German Shepherds through Austin German Shepherd Rescue, and volunteers on Austin Community Foundation’s Scholarship Review Committee.
In her free time, she loves volunteering, scuba diving, and coaching the Varsity High School Cheerleading team at St. Dominic Savio Catholic High School.