Schroon Lake Some of America’s heroes need help.
Volunteers are being sought to drive the Essex County veterans van that takes former soldiers and sailors to medical appointments.
“It’s really a great service to our veterans,” said Laurie Bruce of Schroon Lake, who coordinates the program operated by the Disabled Veterans of America. “But we need people to make certain we can continue the service.”
The van is housed at the town of Schroon highway garage, but it’s available to any and all Essex County veterans who need a ride to a medical appoint. Some trips are local, while others go the Veterans Administration clinics in Albany, Glens Falls and Plattsburgh.
“We take them were they need to go,” Bruce said.
There are now three drivers available for the veterans van service — Bruce, John Demers and Roy Bristol, although Demers has plans go south for the winter.
“We’re short-handed,” Bruce said. “We need someone to step up to the plate and volunteer to drive our veterans.”
Volunteers are on call, responding the medical needs of veterans, Bruce explained.
“Sometimes we make 2-3 trips a week and other weeks we don’t have any,” she said. “It all depends on the medical appointments of our veterans.”
The number of trips any driver makes depends on his or her availability and the how many other drivers are available.
People interested in volunteering can contact Bruce at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 532-7101.
The Essex County Retired & Senior Volunteer Program is assisting Bruce in the search for volunteer drivers.
“If you are looking for a rewarding volunteer opportunity, drivers are needed,” said Barbara Brassard, RSVP program director. “You do not have to sign up to be an RSVP volunteer but may if you are 55 or older.”
Bruce, who recently received a RSVP Director Award for her work with the veterans van, said any adult can colunteer to drive the van. All that’s required is a physical and a driver’s license.
“It’s a great opportunity to make friends and help out our veterans,” Bruce said. “Some of these veterans have no other way to get to their medical appointments. They need the van.”
Bruce suggested members of veterans groups such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion may be interested.
The veterans van has been serving local vets for nearly two decades.