If you have a clean driving record and a little extra time, you can help a local veteran in a big way.
The Disabled American Veterans Transportation Network needs volunteer drivers to get veterans to their medical appointments at the VA Medical Center in Syracuse.
Officials said typically the number of volunteer drivers in the winter time goes down as some of the older retired volunteers head south. But, in mid-July the DAV Transportation Network is in dire need of more volunteer drivers.
Program officials said this service is crucial across a 14-county area of New York. Some veterans need transportation to the VA while others need rides to appointments that may be at regional medical centers.
They said unfortunately, some drivers gave up their volunteering duties because of the pandemic and never came back. As we get back to normal, there is a need for more people to come forward, even if it is driving just once a week.
"Currently, we have about 150 active DAV drivers. There's always a need for more, especially as the community begins to open back up. So, it's really important to get our veterans in so they can get to their necessary appointments. Again, especially since last year many of them got canceled. So, we're always looking for people who are interested in volunteering," said V.A. Medical Center Acting Volunteer Services Chief Jeff Gamble.
Officials said there is a need to fill openings from the North Country to the Southern Tier. The DAV program has been helping veterans get to their medical appointments in Central New York for more than 25 years.
There are a few requirements to be a volunteer driver. You need to be at least 21 years old, have a valid driver's license and pass a background check and a physical.
If you're interested, you can contact the DAV Transportation Network at 315-425-4353.