For Hometown News
MARTIN COUNTY -- A service that began more than 20 years ago will continue, thanks to the efforts of the Veterans Council of Martin County, the Martin County Board of County Commissioners and Disabled American Veterans Transportation Network.
The Martin County Veteran's Service office recently took possession of a new 12-passenger van to transport veterans from Stuart to their appointments at the Veteran's Administration Medical Center in West Palm Beach.
The van is decorated in patriotic colors with a massive flag logo, and will display major donors for the purchase of the van on the doors.
"This is our third van purchase," said Bruce Millett, chairman of the Veterans Council of Martin County. "Cost has risen, but not drastically. The price has raised about $2,000 per year to the current price of around $25,000.00."
The van is full during each weekday run and more than 1,700 veterans are transported each year.
"We've had this service available for so long, it is hard to remember what it was like when we didn't have it," said Commissioner John Haddox, formerly the Veterans Service Office Supervisor. "I hope that day never comes."
The vans, although purchased through the DAV, are signed over to the VA. The VA then provides insurance and all maintenance on the van. The life of the van is expected to last for about 100,000 miles or seven years.
The vans are then returned by the VA to the Veterans Council to be donated or used to raise funds. The most recent to reach the end of its service was donated to the VFW Post 10132 in Hobe Sound for transporting of their Honor Guard to various events throughout Martin County.
Before this, the Honor Guard had to travel separately to their commitments, now they can all meet at one location and travel together.
Veterans are encouraged to call the Martin County Veterans Service Office at (772) 288-5448 to schedule a ride on the van. Those interested in making a donation to help keep this service can send a check to: Veterans Council of Martin County, Inc., PO Box 1994, Stuart, FL 34995.