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Driving vets ‘an honor and privilege’

By Sarah Smith

She’s not exactly driving Miss Daisy, but Barbara Wiebesick figures her human cargo is every bit as valuable.

About once a month, Wiebesick drives veterans to the Fargo VA Center in one of the new SUVs the Hubbard County Veterans Services Office obtained last October.

If she’s lucky, she gets two assignments a month.

She takes anywhere from one to three vets to Fargo, waits until their appointments are done and returns them to Park Rapids.

“Absolutely it’s a fun day,” she said. “I enjoy the visiting on the drives.”

She got involved with Disabled American Veterans after her husband became one. He occasionally is in her van.

The former massage therapist and casino worker wanted to give back when she retired.

The vets she transports often are new to her. She rarely sees the same vet twice.

And when asked if she had a favorite vet, she quickly said, “My husband.”

She thinks the Fargo VA, untroubled by problems noticed in the rest of the system, is “the best in the country” and she feels privileged to be participating in the program.

“It’s been a great honor to meet and learn about these people,” she said.

And although she occasionally hears sad stories, she tries to keep the conversation light. The vets have enough to worry about.

Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.

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