Woonsocket, Rhode Island: If you have ever been stuck on the side of the road with a flat tire, a dead battery, or other vehicular emergency, you are probably familiar with the feeling of relief that comes when help arrives. For the last 30 years, the CVS Samaritan Van program has provided that help and relief to more than a million drivers in need of roadside assistance.
CVS/pharmacy, the retail division of CVS Caremark, launched its CVS Samaritan Van program in Rhode Island 30 years ago on February 6, 1978, the same day that the “Blizzard of `78” struck the Northeast. The single vehicle and its driver immediately began to provide assistance to motorists who became stranded by the sudden storm.
Thirty years later, a fleet of CVS Samaritan Vans, patrolling highways around nine major U.S. cities, have travelled more than 10 million “help miles” and assisted more than a million people. The distinctive white vans with the red “CVS/Samaritan” logo have become a familiar site to commuters in Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Indianapolis, Providence, and Washington, D.C.
“By working in cooperation with local transportation departments, metro traffic centers, law enforcement and other emergency responders, our highly trained CVS Samaritan Van drivers provide welcome roadside assistance and support,” said Eileen Howard Dunn, Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications and Community Relations at CVS Caremark. “By helping to keep people safe on our nation’s highways, the CVS Samaritan Van program is part of our company’s Vision to strive to improve the quality of human life.”
CVS Samaritan Van drivers, who are ASE-certified in motor vehicle repair and are also licensed EMTs, 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.
Public response to the CVS Samaritan Van program is overwhelming. More than 7,000 “thank you” letters and emails are received every year from people who have been assisted by the program.
Over the course of 30 years, the CVS Samaritan Van program has received numerous awards and recognition, including Traffic Safety Awards form 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:
• Boston, MA – Rt. 128 from Rt. 37 to Rt. 2; I-93 from Rt. 128 to I-90
• Charlotte, NC – I-77 from the SC State Line to I-85 & I-85 to Sugar Creek Road
• Chicago, IL – I-290/Rt. 53 from Lake Cook Road to I-294 interchange
• Cincinnati, OH/Northern Kentucky – I-275,Winton Rd. to Montgomery Rd.; I-71 & I-75 from KY state line to I-275, I-71/75 from OH state line to Florence KY, I-471 from OH state line to I-275, & I-275 Kellogg Avenue to Dixie Highway
• Cleveland, OH – I-71, Snow Rd. to I-90 E; 25th St. to Marginal Rd.
• Detroit, MI -- I-75 Rochester Road to I-94; I-696 from Rt.10 to I-94
• Indianapolis, IN – I-465 to Keystone Avenue & I-70 Keystone Avenue to I-465
• Providence, RI – I-95 from MA state line to Rt. 117; I-195 to MA state line
• Washington, D.C. – I-395 from I-95 in VA to I-295 in D.C.
The CVS Samaritan Van program is operated on behalf of CVS/pharmacy by Samaritania, Inc., located in Franklin, Massachusetts.