Rides to VA available for county’s veterans

Dedicating the vehicle that will be used to begin the new VTN – Veterans Transport Network – in Huntington County are members of American Legion Post 7 and other local officials who helped get the free service going for veterans. Celebrating the occasion are (front row from left) former Huntington Mayor Brooks Fetters; current Mayor Richard Strick; Steve Garwood, second vice of Post 7; and VTN Coordinator Curt Juergens; and (back row from left) Chad Hammel, chief deputy of the Huntington County Sheriff’s Department; Post 7 Commander Stan Klosowski; Ed Hippensteel, Post 7 chaplain; and Huntington County Sheriff Chris Newton.
Dedicating the vehicle that will be used to begin the new VTN – Veterans Transport Network – in Huntington County are members of American Legion Post 7 and other local officials who helped get the free service going for veterans. Celebrating the occasion are (front row from left) former Huntington Mayor Brooks Fetters; current Mayor Richard Strick; Steve Garwood, second vice of Post 7; and VTN Coordinator Curt Juergens; and (back row from left) Chad Hammel, chief deputy of the Huntington County Sheriff’s Department; Post 7 Commander Stan Klosowski; Ed Hippensteel, Post 7 chaplain; and Huntington County Sheriff Chris Newton. Photo by Rebecca Sandlin.

Huntington County veterans who need a ride to a Veterans Administration medical facility now have a new resource, with the launch of a new transportation service designed to meet their needs without cost.

Curt Juergens, who is the coordinator of the new Veterans Transport Network of Huntington County, says the mission of VTN is to provide veterans, or veterans with caregivers or a spouse who are unable to drive, free transportation provided by local volunteers.

A “loaner” vehicle, a Ford Freestyle, was dedicated Monday, Jan. 13, by members of American Legion Post 7 and local officials who worked to put the service together. A new vehicle is currently on order, Juergens says.

“The Veterans Transport Network will provide a lifeline to all deserving veterans who otherwise might not get to the care they deserve,” Juergens says. “Often our young and old veterans and their families must live with the effects of war after the fighting ceases or their military service ends. … This free transportation service is the least we as a veteran-oriented county can do for our local heroes.”

Drivers are being recruited who are willing to volunteer their time to transport the veterans, Juergens added. Drivers must have a valid driver’s license, pass a driving physical and also pass a national security background check.

To inquire about volunteering call 200-8384 or email huntingtoncoun tyvtn@yahoo.com.

Veterans needing transportation must schedule the ride 72 hours prior to their pickup time by calling VTN at 200-8384 or by sending an email to hunt ingtoncountyvtn@yahoo.com. Those veterans requiring SMT (Special Mode Transportation of a wheelchair or stretcher) need to request SMT from their primary care VA doctor.