Syracuse (WSYR-TV) – The Disabled America Veterans office is looking for volunteers to drive vans carrying veterans to the VA Hospital in Syracuse.
The call comes out as the veteran population expands and the volunteer base shrinks. Retirees account for the majority of drivers, and many of them leave for the south during Central New York’s winters.
Meanwhile, the number of veterans requiring hospital care at the VA Hospital has nearly doubled since the US became involved in the Middle East.
Van drivers travel throughout Central and Northern New York to provide transportation for the veterans being treated at the VA. The service is free and many veterans couldn’t afford the expense of a long taxi cab ride to the hospital otherwise.
“You don’t have to be a veteran to do this,” said DAV coordinator Bill Gleason. “But I think everyone – whether you’re a veteran or not – read about this long war that we’re in and it’s been over 10 years and we need to give back to the community. And the veterans and the people who do this job, they get a good feel for doing this job when you pick people up. They need that help. A lot of the veterans don’t have the money to get here.”
Anyone who would like to volunteer should call (315) 425-4343.