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MARQUETTE – The van door opens and four Veterans climb out. They shake hands and express their appreciation to James Mead, a volunteer driver, who has just driven the 90 miles from Marquette to safely deliver them to their appointments at the Oscar G. Johnson VA Medical Center in Iron Mountain, MI.
“While I like to help, it’s the stories I love,” said Mead. “Their experiences are so real and wonderful to share. It’s such a great opportunity to both serve and make new friends!”
Mead has been a volunteer driver for 12 years with the Veterans Transportation Network (VTN).
“I can’t imagine not being a part of this network,” he says.
The VTN is comprised of volunteer drivers and vehicles purchased through the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) transportation program, then donated to the VA for transporting Veterans from across the UP and Northern WI to and from their appointments at the main facility in Iron Mountain. In 2017, ninety-three volunteer drivers logged over 226,000 miles transporting over two thousand Veterans to their appointments.
“For years we have provided transportation for Veterans from the Marquette area to Iron Mountain for services,” said Paul Flint, current area coordinator for the Marquette VTN route.
“So many Veterans are unable to drive or have limited resources, and this service provides continued access to healthcare for them, at no cost,” said Flint. “They rely on us and we are honored to help them.”
Currently, there is a critical shortage of volunteer drivers in the Marquette area. Those interested in volunteering to support our Veterans can contact area coordinator, Paul Flint, for more information and referral to volunteer registration at 906-373-6191.
The Veterans Transportation Network, managed by the DAV, is in need of volunteer drivers from the Marquette Area. The van transports Veterans to and from appointments at the Iron Mountain VA Medical Center, Monday through Friday, at no charge. If you are interested in helping, please contact 906-373-6191.