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VFW needs van drivers to transport local vets

October 19, 2011

Photo by Ted Lutz – Posing with the van are, left to right: Jill McCord, VFW Ladies Auxiliary member; Harvetta Green, bartender at the VFW; Phil Green, one of the first volunteer van drivers; Chuck Wilbert, the VFW senior vice commander who is training to be a van driver; Leo Geibel, VFW adjutant; and Don Chittester, VFW commander.

The King David Post 1132 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) in Kane is seeking volunteer drivers for its transport van.
The VFW uses a seven-passenger Ford van to provide free transportation for Kane area military veterans to Veterans Administration (VA) hospitals and clinics.
The volunteer drivers do not need to be veterans themselves. However, the drivers are required to undergo training and medical tests. They also need to have annual flu shots.
“We need more drivers,” VFW Post Commander Don Chittester said in appealing for area residents—men and women—to come forward to volunteer to drive the van.
To volunteer as a driver or obtain more information on the transportation programs for veterans, call the VFW at 837-6630 or visit the VFW at 95 Wetmore Ave. in Kane.
The current transportation van has been “loaned” to the VFW by the Disabled American Veterans (DAV), a non-profit organization. Its motto is “building better lives for America’s disabled veterans.”
The Kane VFW already has placed an order for its own van, Chittester said. This van also will come through a DAV program. DAV pays for maintenance for the van and covers the cost of gasoline.
Phil Green and John Odonish, both of Kane, are the first two volunteer drivers for the van. They are retired.
Chuck Wilbert, the senior vice commander at the VFW, is training as a driver.
“I’m a Vietnam veteran and I just want to help other veterans,” Wilbert said in explaining his reason for stepping forward as a volunteer van driver. “There are a lot of people who can’t get around.”
Leo Geibel, the VFW Post adjutant, said the VFW decided to participate in the DAV van program after “several veterans complained to us that they couldn’t get a ride to the VA hospitals and clinics.”
The van will transport any Kane area veteran to VA hospitals in Erie, Butler and Pittsburgh and VA clinics in Warren and Bradford.
“This will be a big benefit to our local veterans,” Chittester said. “They’ll have transportation—at no cost to them.”

See full article by purchasing the Oct. 20 edition of The Kane Republican.

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