Patricia Nielsen, vice president of TheHandi-Van dies - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Patricia Nielsen, vice president of TheHandi-Van dies

Patricia M. Nielsen, 62 Patricia M. Nielsen, 62

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Patricia M. Nielsen, 62, passed away Saturday, December 25, at The Queen's Medical Center. Nielsen was vice president of Paratransit Services at Oahu Transit Services Inc. which operates TheHandi-Van.

She had been with the organization since February 1997.

While at TheHandi-Van, Nielsen cultivated a culture of caring, which has been exhibited daily by the many van operators and customer care specialists that service the over 13,000 eligible citizens with disabilities located on the island of Oahu.

She also provided the vision and exemplified the division's mission statement: "We make a difference in the lives of the disabled people by providing excellent transportation services driven by the spirit of Aloha."

Prior to her position at TheHandi-Van, she was employed with TriMet transit agency in Portland, Oregon, for twenty years, spending eleven years in the area of providing public transportation to persons with disabilities.

TheHandi-Van currently has 240 van operators, a staff of over 300 and serves more than 3,000 disabled riders daily. Oahu Transit Services operates both TheHandi-Van and TheBus under a contract with the City & County of Honolulu.

Patty was honored with an award from National Easter Seals Project ACTION in 1992 for "fostering cooperation between transit officials and the disabled community." Further, in 1996, she received the National Training Institute "Distinguished Service Award" for "her ability to develop partnerships between transit providers and the disabled community, her innovative training curriculum, and her willingness to share her materials and expertise with others in the transit industry."

Patricia was a member of the Mayor's Committee on Accessible Transportation and previously served as the chairwoman of the Disability & Communication Access Board. Many of her articles regarding disabled transportation were published in national journals and magazines.

Ms. Nielsen was survived by her husband Christopher; sister Phyllis Cipolla from Sun City West, Arizona; brother Patrick Michael Doty from Portland; and step-father Dino Gori from Port Angeles, Washington.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

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