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      Program looking for volunteers to help disabled veterans

      Disabled American Veterans is looking for volunteers to help drive the veterans to appointments down-state.

      A local program that makes sure disabled veterans always have a ride to the doctor wants to expand, but they need some help.

      The Disabled American Veterans van program has been around for multiple years, and recently just acquired a new van to better serve the hundreds of disabled veterans in need in the area.

      Program organizer, John Lefler, says that the program focuses on transporting veterans to their standard doctor appointments at the Veterans Clinic in Grand Traverse, and to any specialty appointments in Saginaw, Ann Arbor, and Detroit.

      "My goals were to try and get enough volunteers available so that anybody and everybody that needed rides to their vet appointments whether they're here in Traverse City, or somewhere down state, out of the county, that I want to make sure that someone was available to take them," said Lefler.

      Currently, the program only has two certified drivers. Lefler says there is a great need for both volunteer drivers and donations since half of their funding comes from community support.

      "We have to put down 50 percent. We have to raise that locally and then they will match it. The national D.A.V. will match that."

      Donations to the program go towards anything needed for operating the van, as well as saving up for a second van so that even more veterans can be transported to their necessary medical appointments.

      A second van for the program is estimated to be around $30,000.

      Donations can be sent to DAV Van, 9124 Kimberly Lane, Traverse City, Mi 49685.

      For more information on how to get involved, head to the D.A.V.'s website.