The Disabled American Veterans (DAV) of Minnesota provides transportation for Veterans to and from medical appointments at VA Medical Facilities through its volunteer transportation program. Without our volunteers we would not be able to provide such an amazing service. We are an organization based off of volunteers and we would not be able to provide any of the services we offer without them.
Throughout 2014 our volunteer drivers in the Minneapolis/St Paul metro area drove over 85,000 miles, serviced more than 3,522 Veterans and volunteered a total of 5,000 hours of their personal time to make this program so successful.
Babette Blumenauer hospital service and transportation coordinator based at the VA Medical Center in Minneapolis is responsible to coordinate over 25 volunteer drivers to make sure our veterans get rides to and from their medical appointments.
At a recognition dinner on December 18th, Babette and Stephen Whitehead DAV of MN Adjutant/Executive Director presented 23 recognition certificates based on number of patients transported since the beginning of the year.
· Nine Silver Certificates for drivers who transported up to 100 veterans
· Nine Gold Certificate for 100 to 199 veterans transported
· Four Platinum Certificate for 200–299 veterans transported
· One Diamond Certificate for greater than 300 veterans transported
Stephen acknowledged that this event is to recognize volunteer drivers. He said: “The disabled veterans you pick up are walking history of what they have lived.” He read a letter that was recently received at his office written by the daughter of one of the disabled veterans. She said: “Your Metro transportation program has put our family at ease knowing you are taking our dad to his appointments.”
Minneapolis/St Paul Metro Volunteer Drivers attending the dinner.
Mike Rosecrans, Patient Advocate at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center, thank all of the volunteer drivers saying: “We are able to do all the things we do at the VA Medical Center every day because of all of your commitments to volunteer your time to serve our disabled veterans.”
Although the event highlighted above focused on the transportation in the Minneapolis/Saint Paul metro area, there is a much bigger picture that involves a very similar DAV coordinated transportation program in the area surrounding the Saint Cloud VA Medical Center area. In addition, the majority of the 90+ MN Counties, as well as the Western Wisconsin counties also have veterans transportation vans (many which are partially funded by DAV MN), that provide transportation for veterans from their counties to the VA hospitals in Minneapolis, St. Cloud and Fargo. These volunteer drivers are supported / assisted by the DAV transportation offices in the three locations, and each of these counties programs fall under the DAV / VA transportation program. Minnesota is proud to be one of the leading States in the USA in providing free transportation for veterans to and from their medical appointments at the VAMCs. Last year, 26,000 veterans were transported over 1.7M miles that involved over 80,000 hours of volunteer time provided by dedicated drivers like those honored in the event here in the Minneapolis / St. Paul metro area.
For those in need of transportation
If you live in the Twin Cities metro area, call Babette Blumenauer, at 612.467.2768. Those in the St. Cloud metro area can call Trent Dilks, at 320.252.1670, Ext. 6676.