Disabled American Veterans is looking for volunteer van drivers to take veterans to clinic appointments and to the Syracuse Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
Were in desperate need, especially in the north country, said Andrew T. Newcomb, DAV transportation/hospital service coordinator. The ones we have are being run ragged.
The need will grow as the DAV has 13 new vans on order, which will replace some aging vehicles and add to existing service. Massena soon will have two vans instead of one; Watertown will grow from two vans to three; and Ogdensburg and Potsdam will receive replacement vans.
Were looking for as many drivers as we can possibly get, Mr. Newcomb said. Our needs are always for drivers and donations.
Veterans who use the service often are too ill to drive themselves, do not have family members who can take them or lack other means of transportation.
Recruitment of drivers is continuous because the demands are high and turnover is common. The time commitment can be hefty, especially as a trip to Syracuse is usually an all-day affair.
Most of the drivers are one day a week, Mr. Newcomb said. It all just depends on what they would like to deal with.
There is no requirement on how much time a volunteer must drive. They do not have to be veterans.
Many have prior military service. Some are retired police officers, people who were unable to join the military and others who just want to help.
Successful volunteers must pass a physical, undergo a background check, have a valid license and a safe driving record, and have automobile insurance.
Interested drivers can call Mr. Newcomb at 425-4353. William G. Gleason, who coordinates volunteers in the Clifton-Fine area, also is available to answer questions at 848-5620.