A hearty Saturday Salute goes this week to the five volunteers who drive veterans in our area to medical appointments through the Disabled American Veterans program.
Chapter 11 of DAV serves central Nebraska, but that extends from O’Neill to Comstock in the north, to Nelson and Superior in the south.
Some of the people they transport are World War II veterans. Others served during the Korean, Vietnam and Gulf wars, as well as peacetime.
DAV takes pride in getting veterans to medical appointments.
“If they’re a veteran and they need a ride, we give it to them,” said Fritz Lee of St. Paul, the longtime coordinator of the local DAV transportation program.
Drivers don’t need to be veterans. They do need a valid driver’s license and have to pass a simple medical test.
Volunteers aren’t paid, but they do get a free lunch each day they drive. The VA also provides them with free shots to keep them healthy.
Most of the veterans needing medical service come to the Grand Island VA Medical Center or to VA-sanctioned health care providers in Grand Island. Some of the vets are driven to Omaha and Lincoln.
Last year, transportation was provided to 2,744 different veterans in central Nebraska. That translates into 52 trips per week. Volunteers put in 7,717 hours, covering 145,634 miles.
This is an important service that provides the veterans not only transportation, but also some interaction with the drivers.
But the DAV sorely is in need of more drivers. Anyone interested in helping can call 308-382-3660, ext. 242146.
Ready to become leaders
We also salute the 35 graduates of Class 35 of Leadership Tomorrow.
The Leadership Tomorrow program is conducted by Hall County Leadership Unlimited Inc., a nonprofit corporation that has been developing leaders who have strengthened and transformed the Grand Island community since 1987. The program creates a continued personal desire to interact with groups that benefit the community and helps members realize their potential and how they as an individual can step into areas of leadership to build a greater community.
The idea is to help younger people in Grand Island get to know the services and resources available in our community and prepare to take on leadership roles.
Leadership Tomorrow has graduated more than 1,200 highly motivated and skilled adults and youths who have helped Grand Island continue to grow and prosper.
We salute these people who have committed themselves to attend monthly programming and take part in a community service project, then find ways that the can become leaders in the Grand Island area.