MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) – Michael Sekely is a volunteer driver for Disabled American Veterans Chapter 22 and the Marquette County Veteran Transport. He comes from a bloodline of serving.
“My family had three members in the military, ” said Sekely. “My mother, my father and myself.”
Sekely was in the Air Force for four years.
“Fast forward to retirement from the private sector and I wanted to give back to the community,” said Sekely.
The DAV vehicle Sekely drives picks up veterans in Marquette County and then takes them to their appointments at the Oscar G. Johnson VA Medical Center in Iron Mountain. The other vehicle stays within appointments in Marquette County.
“The veterans in a lot of cases are homeless,” said Sekely. “They don’t have their own transportation. They have significant medical needs and the transportation to the care and needs that they have. One of the things I really enjoy about this it that it warms your heart and it warms your soul as a volunteer and a driver because as you drive these veterans to their appointments, they open up about their lives and their experiences. Not necessarily just their medical needs but where they’re from, where they served, what they did and that’t that connection you continue to build and you can actually see joy in their face by having that conversation that you can relate to them and their experiences.”
Rain, winds, storms or snow, there are 21 dedicated drivers between both organizations. Just like Sekely, many volunteers are veterans as well.
“While you don’t have to be a veterans to drive either one of these vehicles as a volunteer, veteran do tend to stay together and want to support each other and help one another because we can relate to what we went through in the military and the services,” said Sekely. “So that brings a special bond with each other.”
With a background check and a good driving record, Sekely says they are always looking for more volunteers to help them get behind the wheel.
“One of the many things I know since I orient all of the new drivers and take them to Iron Mountain on their first run is the very background of which they come from,” said Sekely. “It’s amazing. All walks of life. Like I said, veterans, non-veterans from all industries and they all have the same desire. It’s to give back some of their time. Most of them are retired but not all of them and so they all have that same common desire to give back to the community, give back to veterans and help serve others.”