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Cambria County D.A.V. Drivers

Businesses continue to feel the effects the pandemic has brought upon them. Another organization dealing with hardships is the Disabled American Veterans.

The DAV chapter of Cambria County relies on volunteer drivers to help transport veterans to and from appointments. Because of covid-19, they are dealing with a lack of volunteers willing to get behind the wheel.

In a typical year, the DAV in Cambria County helps hundreds of patients travel to and from doctor’s appointments with the help of volunteer drivers.

“We’ve taken veterans now from their home to VA appointments, whether it’s Altoona, Johnstown even up to the transportation to Pittsburgh and brought them back to their homes. Any authorized appointments at all,” said Commander of Johnstown’s DAV, David Wagner.

Once the pandemic hit, the number of volunteer drivers dropped from 15 down to only five drivers. The demand for drivers continues to rise.

“Now the veterans are getting older, and unfortunately in the process of getting older they don’t have the ability to drive, they don’t drive in the winter, they don’t have transportation, so the need is growing,” said Wagner.

“The more volunteers we have to drive the better it is across the board for the volunteers and the veterans and it assures that they get to their appointments,” said Wagner.

People who volunteer their time, like driver John Haynes know what a difference it makes in a veteran’s day to day life.

“It brings tears to your eyes at times. Especially with the World War 2 vets. It just they are such a joy, the stories they tell you,” said Haynes.

“Sometimes the DAV driver, that’s the only person these people come in contact with. They need an out. We need help to make everything work,” said Haynes.

To learn more about volunteering for the DAV, contact the Altoona VA at 814-943-8164 ext. 7141. Leave a message with your name, phone number and request a volunteer package to be sent to your mailing address.

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