Local man creates non-profit to provide transportation

By Ashlie Fanetti

Local police scanners blared as Bloomer Emergency Services were called out to County Highway SS in the Township of Bloomer, Wisconsin, just after dusk to respond to a motorcycle accident.

First responders found Curt “Curtie” Harrison injured on the side of the road. Harrison would spend 13 days recovering in the hospital.  Harrison said, when he returned home, he found himself completely dependent on others and unable to leave his home without assistance. A situation that, according to the 2015 National Health and Aging Trends Study, 5.5 million Americans find themselves in.

That’s when Harrison said an idea came to him.

“It hit me like a brick wall,” Harrison said. “Start a non-profit, give rides and call it ‘Curtie Cares.’”

Harrison remembers,  the whole idea came about in around 10 seconds.

                                                                               ©”The Look” Photography2018
Curt Harrison, founder of Curtie Cares, poses with his vehicle that he used when he first started his non-profit.

Now, a little over a year later, Harrison’s idea has come to life and he is helping homebound people through his official non-profit organization, Curtie Cares.

 Harrison said the goal of the organization is, generally, to help people – whether it’s giving somebody a ride, picking up groceries or bringing meals to somebody who struggles to leave their home. Whatever service he can provide, Harrison said he wants to help.

“He is the most caring, genuine, big-hearted person I know,” Julie Rae Harrison, Harrison’s wife, said. “He knows firsthand what it feels like to be homebound, and he wants to give others hope by doing this and helping them.”

She said she fully supports Harrison’s foundation and helps run it by being a volunteer driver when needed.

She said the organization can be difficult to manage at times, as she and her husband also own and operate their own photography studio and work part-time jobs. Despite this, she said what they do at Curtie Cares is rewarding and worth the extra 10 hours per week.

Harrison said the biggest need of his clients, as of right now, is transportation to medical appointments. To help meet this need, Harrison has recently gathered enough donations to purchase an exclusive company car to transport people. Harrison also has six volunteer drivers from all over western Wisconsin.

Harrison said his volunteers can go anywhere in the Chippewa Valley and spend a lot of time transporting people around the Eau Claire area. Harrison said he remembers his longest trip being to Rochester, Minnesota, and back.

People are not expected to pay Harrison or any of the volunteers; however, free-will donations are accepted. Harrison said he has heard nothing but positive feedback regarding Curtie Cares.

 “I highly recommend Curtie Cares if you need a ride for work or doctor’s visits and have no family to help you,” said Tracey McCann, a client of Harrison’s who received transportation through Curtie Cares from Eau Claire to Rice Lake.

Not only has Harrison received great word-of-mouth feedback, but he has also seen a positive response by way of donations to offset his running costs. According to the company bank statement for January through October 2019, these costs totaled $2,960.62.

Harrison’s GoFundMe page has seen over $1,000 in donations and he said he is receiving checks in the mail frequently from generous community members – ranging from private individuals, to large charities like the Rutledge Home – which have really helped keep the dream alive.

“It has all been really positive, and I’m very appreciative of the generosity of my community,” Harrison said.

  Harrison said Curtie Cares has a mission and a goal to help as many needy people as possible, but Harrison also has a deeper, more personal goal for the organization. Harrison hopes he can inspire others to help their community and others around them.

“It isn’t about just getting people to me to help my cause, but to spur a ripple effect of people helping others in different ways,” Harrison said.

Harrison said he believes in the importance of helping each other and feels people need to do a little bit more of that.

“I just feel that, if everybody did just a little bit to ‘help thy neighbor,’ then we’d live in a better world,” Harrison said.

Harrison said he hopes what he’s doing through Curtie Cares can help other people, especially those in his community, realize there are more people out there in need of help than others realize, and more often than not, people have the power to help them.

“If I can inspire someone to help somebody else, then that’s wonderful,” Harrison said.

Looking ahead toward the future, Harrison said he hopes to grow Curtie Cares and make it a full-time operation. Not only does he want to help as many people as he can now, but he also wants to build the non-profit up enough to keep it going for many years to come, Harrison said.

Harrison said he hopes he can make Curtie Cares his legacy, and that it continues to help people long after he is gone.