DAV thanks community for new Ford Explorer

Dylan Lightfoot Staff Writer

September 21, 2013

With the help of generous and prompt donations from the community, Disabled American Veterans Chapter 80 recently purchased a brand new 2013 Ford Explorer for transporting local disabled veterans to doctors appointments throughout the region.

“We’re just proud to be able to give back to the community,” said Commander Ralph Poe today at Chapter 80’s Open House celebrating the delivery of the Explorer.

The new vehicle is a “seven-passenger, fully loaded” model, Poe said. It will be used to transport vets to Johnson City, Roanoke, Asheville, Salisbury, Durham, Winston-Salem or wherever they need to go.

The process of purchasing the Explorer began over a year ago, he said, but DAV 80 raised their $13,500 share of the purchase price through community donations in just six weeks.

The Federal government paid the roughly $13,000 balance of the price, he said.

Chapter 80 today gave engraved plaques to top donors who gave $500 or more, including: The Gentry Family, Jan Caudell, Bristol Baptist Church, A.E.V., Calvary Baptist Church, William and Dorthy Jeremiah, Ball Mountain Baptist Church, Fred Waechter, Smethport Baptist Church, Life Store Bank, Mission Home Baptist Church and DAV Chapter 80.

The DAV’s previous vehicle, a 2006 van, was retired with 144,000 miles on it, Poe said. “We’re trying to buy it back for internal use,” Poe said.

Chapter 80 drives about 1,000 miles per week transporting disabled vets to and from their destinations, according to driver coordinator Fred Waechter.

While Chapter 80 will gladly transport just one veteran, others can catch a ride so long as at least one passenger has an appointment to keep, Waechter said.

Veterans requiring transport need to have a doctors appointment, and must contact the driver coordinator at 336.649.1010, leaving a detailed message with a call-back number.