Volunteer Van Drivers Get Veterans to Medical Appointments at Lo - WBOY.com: Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

Volunteer Van Drivers Get Veterans to Medical Appointments at Louis A Johnson VA Medical Center

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CLARKSBURG -

According to the Department of Veteran Affairs there were more than 170,000 veterans living in West Virginia in 2010.

There are four federal VA Medical Centers in the state, including one in Clarksburg.

One of the many services offered to the veterans is the Volunteer Veterans Van Driver Program, which recently went through some changes.

"The DAV, Disabled American Veterans, handled the day to day operations. They coordinated the volunteers, who's driving where and when, all the logistics. And then we would write the check for it. It didn't make sense to have one entity managing the day to day operations and being in the dark about the budget,” explained Heather Miles, Public Affairs Coordinator for the West Virginia Department of Veterans Assistance.

Miles said the solution to that problem was to have the program administered in the form of a grant.

"By making it a grant program we have put both of those components under one umbrella and hopefully it will eliminate some unnecessary confusion,” said Miles.

When veterans are unable to make their appointments at the Louis A Johnson VA Medical Center that's where the Volunteer Transportation Network and 55 drivers come in. They're available to pick up and drop off veterans in 22 counties.

Bill Suttle is one of those drivers and a veteran himself, he's been doing it for nearly 10 years, and said he enjoys every aspect of it.

"I feel that it not only helps the people I pick up and bring to the hospital but it helps me too. It gives me self satisfaction of doing something for someone else,” explained Suttle.

One of the people Suttle picked up on his run was Bill Holben, he said he appreciates the convenience of the service.

"The DAV I appreciate them a lot, because I don't have any transportation. Any time I've called to get a ride they've been there on time and it's just a really great program,” Holben said.

Volunteer drivers are always needed; you can call Voluntary Services at the VA for more information or to get involved. The number is 304-623-7621.