JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Region 8 veterans served our country.
Now, they need your help.
The Disabled American Veterans is a nonprofit organization that provides free, professional assistance to veterans and their families.
They work to help them obtain benefits and services earned through military service and provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs or other government agencies.
One such service is transportation.
Coordinator for the DAV van, Loyd Davis, said there's something they need help with, which is drivers!
"Our problem is we do not have enough drivers," Davis said. "We need drivers to haul the veterans to the VA in Little Rock and Memphis. The van goes to Little Rock on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. On Tuesday and Thursday, the van goes to Memphis."
Davis said this is a service widely utilized here in Region 8.
"It's amazing how many we carry," Davis said. "Most of the time, we have anywhere up to seven a trip. We probably average anywhere from four to five veterans a trip. In both cases, Little Rock and Memphis, we leave heading home no later than three o'clock."
Davis said he enjoys volunteering his time when he can.
"I'm excited when I get to drive the veterans to the VA hospital," Davis said. "I love these fellas. I love riding with them. I love talking to them. It's something I enjoy doing, but I can't always be there to do it."
Davis said the people he drives are extraordinary.
"The patients are marvelous," Davis said. "They are absolutely wonderful. These people have served their country. Many were in combat and wounded and they need the services that we provide. The thing that makes this so important is that many of these people could not get to the hospital if it was not for the DAV van. Many of these veterans can only afford to go to the VA. Since they ride the van, we provide a service where we can take them to the hospitals, see they get to see their doctors, they get their medications."
Davis said things have gotten hard.
If they don't get drivers soon, he doesn't know what they'll do.
"We have only four people right now that can drive five days a week," Davis said. "I drove two days this week. If we could get 20 drivers, 20 people in this big city of Jonesboro and the surrounding areas to volunteer to drive, we would have enough that each driver would help out one day a month. That way it wouldn't be difficult for any one of our drivers."
They leave out from the Turtle Creek Mall at six a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays to Little Rock.
On Tuesdays and Thursdays, the van travels to Memphis leaving at 6:30 a.m.
There are pick up points in Trumann and Marked Tree on the Memphis trips.
Davis said there are certain qualifications you must meet if you're interested in becoming a driver.
You must have a valid driver's license, be insured, go through a security clearance and be physically fit.
"You'll go through an orientation," Davis said. "Also, you'll go through an employee physical. And when you do this, all these things are provided by the VA. There's no cost to the person interested in volunteering. It's a very simple process. It just takes a little time. And you've got to be committed. If you're going to drive one day a month, we need to be able to depend on you to be there that day."
If you are interested in volunteering or learning more, call (870) 377-1245.
For more information about DAV, click here.
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