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By Mark Moran - Producer-Editor, Contact - News

 

Big Sky Connection - Veterans in rural Montana are in need of critical transportation. The Veterans Administration says vets often miss important healthcare appointments because there are not enough volunteers to drive them. Comments from Sabrina Clark, director for the VA Center for Development and Civic Engagement.

Click on the image above for the audio. The Department of Veterans Affairs Volunteer Transportation Network is a partnership with Disabled American Veterans. The administration is recruiting more drivers in Montana to provide rides to vets who often live far from their healthcare providers. (Adobe Stock)

Mark Moran

May 28, 2024 - The Department of Veterans Affairs is warning that rural America is in drastic need of volunteer drivers to help get vets to medical appointments.

The lack of available transportation can have a dramatic effect in states like Montana, where people often live far from their healthcare providers. Transportation is the top reason many people report for missing out on medical care and other important appointments.

Sabrina Clark, director of the VA Center for Development and Civic Engagement, said people in the state are stepping up to join the administration's Volunteer Transportation Network.

"There are more than 100 volunteers across Montana who are already serving as volunteers," Clark noted. "We need more, we need more help. We need more volunteers."

Clark is calling on rural Montanans who want to help to join the transportation network. She pointed out drivers can volunteer for as many hours as they want and will have to go through a background check before they get behind the wheel.

Clark emphasized Montana's sheer size and the distance between vets and their care centers makes it difficult to be sure veterans who need medical and mental health services can get them.

"What that means to the veterans to have that transportation is their care, or no care, or limited care," Clark stressed. "And so, that's why we're here, to get more volunteers."

The latest VA data show almost 3,800 volunteers helped more than 222,000 vets get to their appointments nationwide last year. They drove more than 8.3 million miles in the process.

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