Crain’s life behind the wheel earns entrepreneurial award
- Brendan Mayer | February 17, 2021
Alfred Crain took over his father’s medical taxi business at Muskoday First Nation 25 years ago and later started A.C. First Nations Driving Academy.
Now his knack for business and aptitude for working with people has been recognized with the Saskatchewan Indian Equity Foundation (SIEF) 2020 Entrepreneurial Spirit Award.
“It wasn’t expected,” Crain said. “It’s something that further enhances the relationship I have with the business community. It’s an honour and is a positive feather in my cap.”
“He always looks after everybody,” said Crain’s sister-in-law Priscilla Crain, who is one of the main drivers for Muskoday Medical Taxi. “He’s an excellent boss and brother-in-law.”
Alfred was nominated by Muskoday First Nation council and Chief Herman Crain.
“I must be on the right track if I’m being recognized by my community’s leadership,” Alfred said.
His father, Jim Crain, operated the medical taxi business for 22 years and hoped it would stay in the family.
“He was quite happy that we could keep it going,” Alfred said. “My parents showed us a strong work ethic. There is a level of integrity that I want to carry on on behalf of my parents.”
“Alfred has made it work,” Priscilla said. “He is very helpful to the drivers and the community in many areas. He’s very friendly with everybody that he meets. He takes care of us and the business.”
“You have to have the right combination of patience and understanding,” Alfred said. “I’m a people person. Communication is important in this line of work. Being sick isn’t fun for anybody. We realize that if we can keep it light, that helps with stress. You have to be sensitive and can’t be rushing them.”
The company has three medical taxis, and one of the vehicles is wheelchair accessible.
“We don’t have a doctor in the community, and a lot of people don’t have access to transportation due to their income,” Alfred said. “That’s why there is a need to provide medical transportation to residents. It’s a valuable service.”
When the pandemic hit, he thought they might be so busy they’d have to bring in extra vehicles and drivers, but the opposite happened.
“The medical taxi almost came to a stand still,” he said. “It was surprising to us… We were fortunate to have money to cover any payroll issues and any financing issues for our vehicles.”
He started training drivers in 2005 and has taught more than 3,000 students.
“I keep myself busy with the driving school,” he said. “I love this job. We’re here to help. I’ve been to every part of Saskatchewan (and) every community is different.”
Crain doesn’t take the responsibility of preparing drivers for the road lightly.
“I hope and pray that I never have to hear about one of my students being involved in a collision because of distracted driving or impaired driving. We hammer that point home a lot. That’s an immediate challenge that we have to deal with,” he said.
Crain is also the president of the Saskatchewan Driver Education Association. He is serving his third term.
“I think this education is really working,” he said. “Doors open faster once you have a driver's license. It will improve your everyday life.”