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Cheyenne VA Medical Center

 

Transporting Veterans to medical facilities

John Brehm, Floyd Watson, Ron Gusman

DAV Representatives John Brehm, (Scottsbluff, NE); Floyd Watson, Jr (Cheyenne); and Ron Gusman (Sidney, NE) proudly stand in front of the TV donated by the western Nebraska DAV chapters headed by Brehm and Gusman.

By Patricia Hill (Acting) Public Affairs Officer (TCF)
Monday, June 2, 2014

Veterans with an appointment at Cheyenne VAMC or any of the eight Community Based Outpatient Clinics or CBOC’s are eligible for transportation from a central pick-up point from the rural catchment areas.

In Cheyenne, the pick-up and drop-off is door to door.

Changes in the funding for the Beneficiary Travel program led the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to accept alternative options for transportation of eligible veterans seeking VA services. The Volunteer Transportation Network (VTN) was established to provide needed transportation for veterans to/from an authorized facility. VTN guidelines permit volunteer participation in providing transportation to veterans using a government-owned vehicle, including donated vehicles, county vehicles, DAV Department (State) or Chapter (local) vehicles, public transportation and contracted transportation.

Linda Brown, Cheyenne VA Voluntary Service Chief documents the VTN activities. In FY13 drivers performed the following:

-       Serviced approximately 6,150 veterans

-       Traveled more than 278,170 miles

-       Completed 3,270 trips

-       Logged 11,825 volunteer hours

Brown adds: “If all of these veterans were eligible for VA travel reimbursement (41.5 cents per mile) this program alone saved over $115,440.”

Riders can be confident in the skills of the 75 drivers who operate the 12 vans in the VTN. They are personally trained, certified and must have refresher training each year.

The ballcap worn by Wyoming DAV Volunteer Drivers

All Wyoming DAV Van Drivers are easily identified by this signature ball cap

Brehm said of the donation, "it was a need we were happy to meet."

“Having a new TV that connects to a DVD player makes the training easier,” Gusman added. Previously training was held in a conference room that involved finding a location and then scheduling drivers to attend. Now each driver can participate in the training at their convenience and in the central location of the Hospital Service Coordinator (HSC) office.

Watson, a retired Air Force Senior Master Sergeant and DAV HSC of the transportation network personally provides the annual training and certifications. He has been the HSC for seven years after getting his start assisting the previous incumbent, Herb Benton. When Watson travels on behalf of the DAV as Department Adjutant Department of Wyoming, HSC duties are covered by Mary Jo Alley and Gilbert Miller. Currently, Kathy Flair, the newest member, is in training. These committed volunteers make up the core management team of the DAV transportation network housed on the main campus of Cheyenne VA Medical Center.

 Jim Leavell, the Tuesday Cheyenne Driver

Leavell wanted direct Veteran involvement for his volunteer assignment

One of the local drivers is Jim Leavell, the Tuesday Cheyenne Driver. There is a different driver each day of the week. Leavell, a VA Voluntary Services volunteer, was particular about what to do with his time. An Air Force Veteran of the Korean War Leavell wanted direct Veteran involvement. That’s good news considering a primary focus of the DAV is ‘by Vets and for Vets.’

 

Leavell and other drivers pick up fellow Veterans from their home, brings them to the medical facility, wait until their appointment is done and returns them to their front door.

 

It’s a great arrangement. If interested in becoming a part of the DAV transportation network as a driver call Voluntary services at: 307-778-7317 to get the process started.

 

If eligible Veterans need a ride to an appointment at a facility serviced by Cheyenne VAMC, call 307-778-7577.

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