By Cristi McKee
TALLAHASSEE, Fl — Tallahassee’s newest travel service, TripTrustees, offers a unique and one-of-a-kind platform for one type of Capital City resident in particular: senior citizens. The Tally Wire had the opportunity to speak with the new travel service about their company, which functions via connecting local civic leaders with senior citizens who wish to take trips, but need some assistance. Read about them below.
Who began TripTrustees, and can you tell me a little bit about them?
TripTrustees was founded in 2017 by Gino Fina. Originally from Columbus, OH, he joined the US Navy in 1990 at age 22 after graduating from Ohio State University to pursue his dream of becoming a Navy pilot. After serving in the USN for 11 years, he used his GI Bill to become a registered nurse. In 2009, he attended nursing school at Keiser University in Tallahassee. He now works at Tallahassee Memorial specializing in psychiatric nursing while also still pursuing his dream as a pilot working for American Airlines. Working in healthcare and as a pilot, Gino recognized the need for senior assisted travel, which is when he created TripTrustees.
Where did the idea for TripTrustees come from?
Back in 2012, one of Gino’s private plane partners was too busy to take time off work, so he asked Gino to fly his father and his son to visit the US Naval Academy. That round-trip grandfather and grandson journey is what inspired the idea for TripTrustees. Once news got out after the first trip, Gino was asked to facilitate several more trips with other seniors who were friends of friends. As their driver or flying companion, he assisted seniors for the entirety of their trip, doorstep to doorstep. He was driving seniors to all sorts of different occasions in all sorts of cities—from weddings, to family reunions, to cruise ships—and that is the part he enjoyed, that each trip was personalized and different, yet made a difference in someone’s life.
What is Mr. Fina’s favorite part of running TripTrustees?
Gino’s favorite part of running TripTrustees is getting to see seniors make an otherwise impossible trip to see their families or take that special trip they always dreamed of. The motivation has always been and remains to help even more seniors and their families connect and help create travel dreams become realities.
Another amazing part of running TripTrustees is seeing how many nurse colleagues and other local Tallahassee civic-duty leaders including firemen, policemen, paramedics, and more also want to help the senior community and become involved in TripTrustees. The feeling of a diverse community coming together to support one another is one of the greatest rewards Gino gets to witness by running TripTrustees.
What do you hope senior citizens get out of utilizing your company?
Our vision at TripTrustees is to take travel hopes & dreams of seniors that have been dashed by an inability to drive or fear of traveling alone and make them a reality. We hope seniors take the trip and make life-long memories for them and their families to enjoy.
Our goals are to bring independence to older Americans, we want to do this by giving them a variety of travel options and providing them with a travel companion they can trust. We also want to recognize the hard-working civic duty personnel and provide them with something they can take part in while off-duty. We also aim to recognize and donate to Honor Flight for each trip that is taken. Honor Flight is a non-profit organization dedicated to transporting veterans, at no cost to the veteran, to Washington DC to visit the memorials of the respective war they fought in.
Are there any limitations on where clients can travel to?
There are no limitations for client travel at this time. It is likely that the majority of our travel assistants will only be assisting on shorter, 3-10 day trips in their off-duty time. However, we will also have retired personnel who can take much longer trips. Therefore, the world is truly the limit.