Dear Editor,

The day has finally come. Veterans will no longer have transportation services on Thursday. There is a driver available for most Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Tuesdays and Thursdays are a busy days for the Transportation Service, but now there is no driver available for Thursday.

Part of the problem is the hassle imposed on the VA by the Office of Personnel Management in Washington DC. They have imposed restrictions that would be unconstitutional in a criminal case. Our senior Senator seems unable to do anything about it even though he is on the Veterans Committee.

I guess I don’t blame people for not wanting to get involved in the hassle. All I can say to my fellow Veterans is to change your Reno appointments to Tuesday or Friday.

Charlie Morris

Walker Lake

Dear Editor,

Volunteer Drivers Needed Desperately!

The Hawthorne Veterans DAV Van service that transports Veterans to their medical appointments on Tuesday, Thursday & Friday to Reno VA Medical Center each week as well as going to the Fallon VA Clinic on Wednesday, desperately needs volunteer drivers! We have been looking for new volunteer drivers for the past four years and have been unsuccessful. We are now currently down to 2 volunteer drivers and we will have to cancel trips in the upcoming weeks due to not having a driver to take our Veterans to their scheduled medical appointments.

Part of the problem in finding volunteer drivers is the requirements that the VA has set in place and will not budge one inch on. We have found individuals willing to drive, only to find out later, that they can’t drive because of one the requirements that the VA has set in place. These requirements have made it very difficult to find people that are able to drive the DAV van.

The VA’s one requirement that seems to eliminate most individuals willing to become a volunteer driver is that the potential driver has never had a DUI in their entire life. It does not matter if the offense happened over 30 years ago, and the person has never had another violation since, the VA will not allow the person to be a volunteer driver. We have been speaking with our politicians to see about getting this requirement changed, but nothing has happened yet.

The process to become a volunteer driver takes about two months to complete. That means if we were to get a new volunteer driver today, and they finally are able to start driving two months from now. We could easily cancelled over 10 regularly scheduled trips to the Reno VA, which could mean that 30 to 40 or more Veterans will have not been able to make it to their scheduled medical appointments using our volunteer van service.

The Hawthorne Veterans DAV Van service does not just cover Mineral County, we also pickup Veterans in Lyon County, to bring the Veterans to their scheduled VA medical appointments. The volunteer drivers that have driven the DAV van over the years have been outstanding drivers willing to go the extra mile for our Veterans. If we don’t find additional volunteer drivers in the next few weeks, our two remaining volunteer drivers could easily become burned out and where would we be then?

So if you have ever thought about volunteering, please consider becoming a volunteer van driver. The Veterans you will meet are some of the greatest folks that you ever will meet and they truly do appreciate your time! Over the years, I have had the privilege of meeting many wonderful Veterans that have become good friends. Most of the World War II and Korean War Veterans are gone now, but the memories of my friends still remain.

If you are interested in helping Veterans keep their scheduled medical appointments, please call MJ at 775-945-9001 to pick up a volunteer driver application. The VA does require all volunteer drivers to have a copy of their insurance (to prove that you are insurable), a copy of your driver’s license, a physical which is done at the Reno VA hospital and attending one day of training annually.

Please consider volunteering to help our Veterans keep their scheduled medical appointments. Without your help, we will be forced to cut back the number of trips we make weekly to the Reno VA Medical Center.

M.J. Dyxhornn