Heartland veterans look for help getting to the hospital - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Heartland veterans look for help getting to the hospital

Disabled American Veterans, a non-profit organization, is looking for more volunteers to help transport veterans to and from their doctor's appointments. Disabled American Veterans, a non-profit organization, is looking for more volunteers to help transport veterans to and from their doctor's appointments.
POPLAR BLUFF, MO (KFVS) -

A Heartland non-profit is looking for more volunteers to help transport veterans to and from their doctor's appointments.

Disabled American Veterans is an organization that provides free transportation to VA medical facilities for injured and ill veterans.

However, the branch in Poplar Bluff is having trouble finding drivers to service the Cape Girardeau area.

"There are veterans that have called and we've had to turn away because we don't have the volunteers to be able to fill days that they need, whether it be a long trip or a short trip," Hospital Service Coordinator Lacey McClintock said.

McClintock said last month more than 30 veterans from the Cape Girardeau area used their services.

However, when December gets here there won't be any volunteers in this area that can actually drive them, unless more people step up.

Prentiss Waltman worked as a volunteer driver for DAV.

He said veterans rely on this service.

"They need this very badly," Waltman said. "And people don't understand, transportation back and forth whether it be to the hospital or whether it be to the VA clinic, a lot of people we transport this is the only transportation they have back and forth."

Waltman said in a lot of cases this transportation is the only option some veterans have.

"A lot of people don't have family members," Waltman said. "And a lot of the veterans have family members that don't want to mess with it. And that's very sad. Our veterans need our help."

McClintock said it is important that veterans make it to their appointments.

"These appointments are obviously very necessary and mean the world to their health and if they can't make the appointments there's sometimes a long wait before they can reschedule," McClintock said. "So it really helps them to be able to make it there."

Waltman is a veteran himself. He served in the Vietnam War.

He said it is important for him to give back.

"It's good for my heart, knowing that I can give back," Waltman said. "...being in the system myself I know how important it is. I see a lot of veterans that can't make it to their appointments and that's sad."

To be a driver you must pass a background check and meet a few other requirements.

If you're looking to get involved, you can attend an open house on Tuesday, Veterans Day.

It'll be hosted at the Applebee's in Cape Girardeau.

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