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DAV seeks volunteer drivers for veterans

The Park Rapids chapter of Disabled American Veterans is in need of more volunteer drivers. (Submitted photo)

The Minnesota Disabled American Veterans (DAV) runs a statewide program offering free rides for veterans to medical appointments. Veterans and their caregivers receive the rides in vans donated to the VA by the Minnesota DAV.

In 2017, riders were transported over 1.6 million miles to VA appointments around the state, furthering the DAV's mission to "better the lives of Minnesota's disabled veterans and their families."

According to a news release, in the Park Rapids area of the northwest division of the program, volunteers take veterans to the VA outpatient clinic in Bemidji on Tuesdays and to the Fargo VA on Wednesdays and Fridays.

Since 2013, the program has been very successful in this area, decreasing expenditures for both the veterans and other county taxpayers. The Park Rapids DAV chapter has a network of volunteer drivers who donate their time to provide door-to-door, safe and friendly rides for ambulatory veterans.

Due to some shrinkage in that network, however, they currently are looking for additional volunteers. Becoming certified requires only one day of training and processing paperwork at the Fargo VA.

"You do not have to be a veteran, and you set your own schedule," said Carrie Hitchcock of the Hubbard County Veterans Service Office. "We host an annual appreciation luncheon, so drivers who typically don't see each other can get together and visit. Inevitably, heartwarming and sometimes hilarious stories are shared of each driver's experiences getting to know veterans in the area,"

If you would like to be part of keeping the promise to America's veterans to return benefits to them that they have earned for serving our country, call the Hubbard County Veterans Service Office at 732-3561.

"We know you will find your time spent with them to be rewarding," Hitchcock said.