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Volunteer Van Driver Program Now Fully Operated by Disabled American Veterans

7/8/2014

A MESSAGE FROM WEST VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS ASSISTANCE SECRETARY RICK THOMPSON
Volunteer Van Driver Program Now Fully Operated by Disabled American Veterans
 
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – With memories of Independence Day still lingering in our minds, it’s a fitting time to reflect on the many promises we’ve made, as a state and nation, to veterans of our armed forces. Among those promises, and perhaps one of the most important, is access to health care.
 
In addition to several VA Medical Clinics, there are four federal VA Medical Centers in West Virginia and one in Pittsburgh, PA, that serves West Virginia residents. However, whether it is due to financial hardship, physical or mental disabilities, or other causes, not all veterans are able to transport themselves to these facilities. To address this shortcoming and ensure that every veteran in our state can receive the health care he or she deserves, the West Virginia Department of Veterans Assistance (WVDVA) partnered with the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) and the federal VA to establish the Volunteer Veterans Van Driver Program. It is because of this program and its dedicated volunteer van drivers that veterans throughout West Virginia are provided free transportation to and from their VA medical appointments.
 
In years past, the WVDVA has overseen the program’s budget, while the DAV handled its day to day operations. Now, thanks to legislation passed earlier this year, the program will be administered in the form of a grant. This means that, with the signing of the grant on July 1, 2014, the DAV became fully responsible, not just for the operations of the program, but also for managing its budget. My hope is that this change will eliminate the unnecessary confusion created by the previous model in which one entity oversaw the program’s operations while another controlled the funds.
 
Ultimately, the DAV and its volunteer van drivers share with the Department of Veterans Assistance the goal of serving those who have answered our nation’s call and defended all that we hold most dear. We understand that it isn’t enough to have four VA Medical Centers if our veterans are unable to get to them, and together we’ve been able to alleviate this concern. I am confident that changing the Volunteer Veterans Van Driver Program to a grant program will allow for smoother, more efficient operations of the program and, in the end, this will benefit West Virginia veterans.

Contact Information

Heather Miles: 304-558-3661