The DAV transportation program serves a lot of veterans and their families. It is a substantial venture for the DAV. Chapter members state wide know it exists but really do not get to see the positive and far reaching effects that it has in serving our veterans. When we help a veteran we usually help a family, when we help a family we help a community. Consequently we would like to share with membership stories of some of the details of how our veterans are served. However in telling these stories we are required to keep the identity of the veterans we serve anonymous. Furthermore our volunteer drivers do this work out of the kindness of their hearts, they are not in this for atta boys, pats on the back, or any recognition at all. So we will protect their identities as well. DAV Transportation has specific parameters that we work in based on the resources that we have available, so these accounts represent exceptions of us going above and beyond what we normally can do. In the metro area, we provide transportation to medical appointments that are scheduled between 9:00 and 1:00. To get some of our veterans here to the VA Medical Center at a 9:00 appointment many times our drivers need to leave around 7:00 in the morning.
On February 2, 2016 Winter Storm Kayla descended upon us with a weather forecast of 5 to 10 inches of snow and possible wind gusts up to 30 mph. Even though the snow storm was coming and people were advised to stay in, many businesses and schools closed, our drivers all came in. They drove the afternoon into the evening of the storm and started again the next morning when there were still perilous driving conditions. It took hours to take veterans home that afternoon into the evening, and because it was still snowing the next morning, it took hours to navigate the slippery roads and bring veterans in to their medical appointments.
If that were not enough, the afternoon the storm started, our dispatchers got a call from an ambulance company. The ambulance company had got a call from a veteran who needed to come in for a medical condition that was not life threatening, but causing the veteran great discomfort. So much so he was willing to pay $2000.00 for the ambulance service to the VAMC. That was not even considering how he was to get a return ride back to his home. He lived quite a distance from the VA and he could not get a cab to come and get him. The DAV dispatcher called in a driver and asked him if he would bring in this veteran. The driver said yes so we thanked the ambulance company for looking out for our veteran and our driver came in signed out a vehicle, and headed out to bring him in. And then when the veteran finished his appointment a driver took him home in the height of the storm.
And that is what DAV drivers do. They drive from all over the states of Minnesota and Wisconsin, in the cities of Minneapolis, St Paul, St Cloud and other areas, always looking out for their charges with utmost care. And many times they go above and beyond even this. Next time you see a DAV driver could you give him or her a great big thank you?
Babette Blumenauer, DAV HSC
VA Medical Center Minneapolis
Other MN DAV Transporation Offices:
St. Cloud VA: 320.255.6480 ext. 6676
Northeast Minnesota Transportation: 218-204-0693
Northwest Minnesota Transportation: 1-855-277-9787