WASILLA — The Mat-Su Health Foundation recently recognized Sunshine Transit founder and Executive Director Kim Schlosser with Bert Hall Award for her commitment to the community’s overall health and well being.
“We are proud to honor Kim Schlosser and her incredible dedication to keeping inclusivity and equity at the forefront of her work in the Mat-Su,” Mat-Su Health Foundation CEO Elizabeth Ripley stated in a recent press release. “Under her leadership there has been significant expansion in Sunshine Transit’s services, leading to improved access to healthcare, afterschool programs, food security, senior services, social connections, and other safety net services.”
Each year, the foundation uses the Bert Hall Award, also referred to as a “Bertie” to acknowledge an exemplary local who ceaselessly commits to working at the systems level to improve the health and wellness of their fellow residents.
Sunshine Transit is a certified Medicaid, nonprofit route provider that provides public transportation for Upper Susitna Valley residents.
Schlosser’s work to leverage transportation services in the Upper Su region of Mat-Su, resulting in improvements to health and wellbeing of community members made her stand out as this year’s Bert Hall recipient.
“Under Kim’s leadership, the 10-year-old transit system has undergone rapid expansion to reduce a significant barrier experienced by many residents in Mat-Su’s northern rural communities,” Ripley stated.
Schlosser has been an active participant in the Mat-Su Central Dispatch pilot project with an interest in not only increasing efficiency, but also providing the best possible experience for riders.
“Sunshine Transit’s expansions have improved access to healthcare, afterschool programs, food, senior services, social connections, and other safety net services. Kim understands the unique needs of each community and keeps inclusiveness and equity at the forefront,” Ripley stated.
The pilot project ensured proper route alignment that provides seamless access to public transportation for Upper Su residents accessing services in the Valley’s core area as well as Anchorage, according to the release.
Schlosser’s efforts also include but aren’t limited to: leading Sunshine Transit to assist nonprofits with safe shuttle options during vital fundraisers, accommodating delivery of groceries and supplies to residents stuck at home because of the coronavirus, and temporarily repurposing their fleet of vehicles to support hotshot crews fighting wildfires.
Schlosser currently serves on the board of directors of Upper Susitna Seniors, Inc. Prior to founding Sunshine Transit, her eclectic background ranges from aerospace to veterinary industries work.
Kim seems to be undaunted by the complexity of any problem. She is a gifted collaborator, and has been instrumental in developing cross-sector partnerships… Kim responds to community need with a “yes, we can” approach,” Ripley stated.
The Bert Hall Award is named after Mat-Su resident Bert Hall, one of the original organizers of the Valley Hospital Foundation Board of Directors.
Hall is known for his medical work across Alaska. He’s worked as a Mat-Su Regional Medical Center board member, associate director of the US Department of Veterans Affairs, commissioner of the Alaska Department of Health and Human Services, director of Health and Social Services for the Municipality of Anchorage, and as the Alaska liaison to the US Department of Health and Human Services.
Hall has also served as president of the Alaska Public Health Association, represented Alaska on the Governing Council of the American Public Health Association, and served on the Alaska Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse.
Past Bert Hall Award recipients include: Lt. Tom Dunn (2019), Rachel Greenberg (2018), Bill Hogan (2017), Herman Thompson (2016), Margaret Volz (2015), Craig Thorn (2014), and Bert Hall himself (2013).
Sunshine Transit buses stop across Upper Susitna.
For more information, visit sunshinetransit.org, call 907-495-8411, or call 907-354-3885 for immediate assistance.
Contact Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman reporter Jacob Mann at firstname.lastname@example.org