DAV in dire need of volunteer drivers
Like many organizations hurting during this pandemic, DAV (Disabled American Veterans) is in dire need of volunteer drivers. Now more than ever, disabled veterans in the area need help getting to their medical appointments.
RAPID CITY, S.D. — The DAV Transportation Network is organized through Disabled American Veterans, a nonprofit that offers free rides to veterans who receive care at VA medical facilities.
They have seen a gradual decline, but the pandemic, you could say, was the last straw that broke the camels back – leaving them in a hurtful position.
Donald Sealock, Hospital Services Coordinator, says, “It’s (DAV transportation) been a good deal, everybody needs a ride if they can’t afford it or don’t have a car or whatever. It’s a service we provide and we’ve always done that since 1987. It’s something they’d really miss if we don’t have it, like right now, we can’t drive it if we don’t have the drivers.”
Ideally, DAV needs at least 15 new volunteer drivers and currently there is only one driver on the roster- leaving many veterans missing their medical appointments.
Ken Mowrer has been a driver for five years and has clocked over 35,000 miles on the road and says he gets a good feeling when he can do a solid for another veteran. He sees the importance of keeping this service to the veterans who served our country.
Mowrer says, “If they are not homeless, they live in different motels in Rapid City and they have no transportation, they walk every place they want to go and they don’t get up to Fort Meade unless I haul them.”
Veterans do not need to be a member of the DAV to ride the vans.
Stanley Kennard often uses the shuttle service to get him to and from his health appointments.
Stanley J. Kennard, DAV member, says, “It’s awesome, days that you feel bad, you are not focusing enough to drive your own vehicle, it is just awesome to come and leave and you know what time they leave and come back, and have your appointment set for that time.”
DAV has seven vans West River. Veterans go to DAV to be picked up to go to medical appointments at the VA at Fort Meade and Hot Springs. DAV vans have even given rides as far as Sioux Falls, Minneapolis and Denver.
DAV has put protective measures in place to keep drivers and veterans safe during the pandemic, which includes using plastic shield barriers and PPE, limiting the number of passengers per route each day, disinfecting vans after each trip and more.
Younger drivers are especially encouraged to volunteer. Volunteer clearance could take over a month. Volunteers must have a drivers license and pass a physical.
Volunteers choose the hours and days they want to drive. Those looking to volunteer can call Donald at 605-720-7065.
The DAV in Rapid City is located at 101 East Madison Street. They are open Monday through Friday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. to help veterans file claims and the first Saturday of every month.
In 2020, DAV gave out 5,558 rides and 347,237 miles. Since 1987, DAV has done 421,406 rides, 821, 400 hours, and 19,206,002 miles.