DAV of Minnesota Foundation Partners with Xcel Energy Foundation to Enhance Veteran Transportation Services

The Disabled American Veterans (DAV) of Minnesota Foundation is excited to announce a new partnership with the Xcel Energy Foundation to enhance the DAV of Minnesota’s Transportation Program. This vital initiative offers free transportation for Veterans to VA medical appointments across Minnesota. With the generous grant from the Xcel Energy Foundation, the program will now be able to purchase three additional vehicles, significantly improving access to essential healthcare services for Veterans, particularly in rural areas.

“We live and work in the very same communities we serve,” said Ryan Long, president of Xcel Energy–Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. “We’re committed to uplifting our neighbors and supporting positive change. Through our Employee Choice Grants program, Xcel Energy is excited to help Minnesota veterans access the care they need.”

In the past year alone, the DAV of Minnesota Transportation Program made a remarkable impact by providing transportation to over 22,000 Veterans. With the new vehicles, the program anticipates a 4% increase in the number of Veterans served in the upcoming fiscal year. This success is largely due to the dedication of volunteer drivers, who collectively donated more than 41,000 hours last year.

“Transportation is a critical issue for Veterans, especially those with disabilities or limited financial resources,” said Lauri Brooke, Executive Director of the DAV of Minnesota Foundation. “This grant will enhance our services, helping us reach more Veterans, particularly in greater Minnesota where healthcare access can be challenging.”

Minnesota is home to nearly 300,000 Veterans, many of whom struggle to find reliable transportation necessary for maintaining their health and well-being.

The importance of the DAV’s Transportation Program is underscored by the stories of the Veterans and volunteers who depend on it. For example, one volunteer driver extended his day significantly to accommodate an additional appointment for a Veteran, demonstrating the volunteers’ dedication to the Veterans’ well-being. In another instance, a volunteer driver ensured a Veteran received urgent care for a pacemaker issue, potentially saving the Veteran’s life.

The program also addresses the unique needs of Veterans. Recently, a Vietnam-era Veteran who was planning to cancel an important medical appointment due to transportation issues was able to receive critical care after learning about the program. Volunteers often go above and beyond, providing companionship and assistance beyond transportation. Last year, for instance, volunteer drivers helped shovel walkways, offered emotional support, and even attended the funerals of Veterans they served.

As the DAV of Minnesota Foundation continues to expand its Transportation Program with the support of the Xcel Energy Foundation, we remain dedicated to ensuring that every Veteran has access to the healthcare services they need. The program’s growth will help more Veterans maintain their health and independence, reinforcing the Foundation’s mission to serve those who have served our country.