By Richard Eckert
Some of our veterans have fallen on to hard times and are not as fortunate as some of us. However, they still need health care. These veterans have to rely on family and friends to get a ride to the VA medical center in Fort Wayne.
In some instances these veterans are “referred” to other medical facilities such as Lutheran, Parkview or St. Joe hospitals. Some referrals are given to physicians in specialized care that is not available at the VA hospital. Once in a while, some veterans are directed to the Roudebush VA Medical Center in Indianapolis or the medical center in Marion.
The DAV does a great job of securing vans to transport from the outlying counties to Fort Wayne VA hospital. They also shuttle vans between Fort Wayne, Marion and Indianapolis. Because the vans are in limited supply they cannot be called upon as one would use a taxi, so the use of the vans has to be a coordinated event. They require some scheduling and have to rely on the help of volunteers.
Unfortunately, not all counties have additional transport vehicles so it compounds the problem when a veteran needs transportation to and from one of the medical facilities. Obviously, using a taxi or other expensive transportation is prohibitive to the veteran that has a need to seek medical attention, particularly to Indianapolis.
Volunteers are needed to help transport veterans to and from any medical facility or elsewhere. There are a few requirements that must be met, such as a background check, medical examination and valid driver’s license. If any veterans, or non-veterans, would like to donate a day or two a month, contact your local veterans service officer about becoming volunteer driver.
— Richard Eckert is Whitley County’s veteran service officer