Disabled American Veterans: Need Drivers

Since 1987, DAV (Disabled American Veterans) Transportation Network volunteer drivers have logged 734.6 million miles, providing nearly 19 million no-cost rides for Veterans to and from VA health care appointments. This program makes an incredible impact on Veterans like 94-year-old Vincent Rolves, a former POW who served in WWII.

“I think they’re just wonderful,” said Rolves of DAV volunteer drivers. “Not everybody is so thoughtful of Veterans, but the ones that are, I just really appreciate.”

DAV needs more volunteer drivers nationwide to meet the growing transportation need of Veterans.

Without this program, many Veterans would not have access to the VA health care they’ve earned. DAV has donated a total of 3,517 vehicles to VA medical centers, and the VA has valued DAV hours of volunteer service at nearly $34.7 million annually—making it an indispensable resource for Veterans and a cost-effective solution for the VA.

“I’m honored to be doing this for [Rolves],” said DAV Transportation Network volunteer and Veteran James Sabelca. “Maybe some day, someone will be doing this for me.”

How you can help

If you want to give back to your community and to Veterans that served our country, and their families, and help them attend their health care appointments, volunteer to be a driver for DAV.

Interested applications can call their local VA Health Care System’s Voluntary Service Department or send a message or request through https://www.volunteer.va.gov/apps/VolunteerNow. Applicants can also request the route area they prefer.

Requirements

  • Pass a physical given by a VA Occupational Health provider.
  • Have good judgement and ability to solve problems.
  • Ability to remain calm under stressful conditions.
  • Willing to do minor vehicle inspections for safety.
  • Complete an annual VA-sponsored defensive driving class.
  • Possess a valid state driver’s license and clean driving record.
  • Possess personal auto liability insurance.
  • Keep DAV van clean inside and out for comfort.

Duties

Volunteer drivers:

  • Report to the Voluntary Service Department and DAV personnel.
  • Drive Veterans to their health care appointments to VA health care systems
  • Coordinate with Veteran passengers on where to meet and the time of their departure to their health care appointment.
  • Return Veterans to their original pick up location after their health care appointment.

If you or anyone you may know would like to get involved and drive a DAV van to assist Veterans in getting to and from their health care appointment, please visit http://dav.org/help-dav/volunteer/ to learn more.

Forget Me Not Drive

Auxiliary units with its Chapter’s prior consent, may conduct one Forget-Me-Not Drive annually, offering Forget-Me-Not flowers purchased through the DAV National Headquarters, and where a paid promoter is not involved.

Income from Forget-Me-Not Drives shall be used solely for the service to disabled veterans, their dependents and survivors and for NO other purpose.

National Constitution and Bylaws , Standard State Department Bylaws, Standard Local Unit Bylaws and Rituals of the Disabled American Veterans Auxiliary, Article XV, Section 4.

The following is an excerpt from a news story published by the DAV many years ago pertaining to the origin of Forget-Me-Not drives:

 In the Meuse-Argonne Forest the last big decisive “push” of the World War was fought and won by the allies on Argonne Day, which was September 26th. The Disabled American Veterans of the World War enlisted the aid of the general public in waging the battle for justice still being fought by thousands of unfortunate disabled veterans whose claims for government treatment and compensation had been denied because of the deficiencies of the law or of the evidence submitted by them.

On that date Forget-Me-Nots were first offered for sale in every large town and city throughout the nation, to a grateful people who had not forgotten their wartime promises that nothing would be too good for the returned soldier. The wearing of a Forget-Me-Not on Argonne Day, therefore, meant much more than the expression of a sentiment; it carried with it as well, the fact that the wearer was performing an unselfish service in assisting unfortunate and needy Disabled American Veterans. By remembering the living, we can best honor the dead. Through the sale of the little blue flowers of remembrance, the DAV hoped to realize sufficient funds to carry on its important work for the coming years.

The first Forget-Me-Not Day was February 24, 1926.

At the Detroit Convention, July 31, 1929, Argonne Day, September 26, and Armistice Day, Nov. 11, were designated as Forget-Me-Not Days with the understanding that units may conduct a drive on dates other than the above because of weather conditions or other local circumstances.

In accordance with the custom established at the White House at the time of the Disabled Veterans of the World War’s first annual appeal to the public through the medium of the Forget-Me-Not sale, President Calvin Coolidge, while at the summer White House, issued a proclamation calling upon the people of the U.S. to support the organization’s call for assistance in which he commended the DAV as one of the agencies which has given the government needed assistance by assisting in every possible way in alleviating the sufferings of those veterans of the recent conflict for whom the war still endures.

forget me not flowers

There are many legends and stories concerning the Forget-Me-Not, of course none have been verified; however, here are two such tales:

“God was looking at the world that He had created and felt that He needed to place beautiful colors as a finishing touch to make the world a joy for the eye and the soul. He then told the little cherubs that they would be sent to earth to give pleasure to man by blooming as bright and glorious flowers,” said the account. ‘These will remind man that whenever there is desperation and the feeling that all is lost they have only to look around and see one of you in all your majesty.’ After He had almost completed His work the tiniest, chubbiest and youngest cherub came to Him for the third time and jumped on His lap. ‘Father what am I supposed to be?’ God looked down at him and with a smile and a pat on the cherub’s head He said, ‘Forget Me-Not.’”

According to history, during the reign of King Edward, a young man and his lady were strolling on the margin of a lake. They discovered some flowers some distance from the lake’s inner bank. In the true spirit of chivalry, the lad swam to the off shore island and plucked the flowers for the lady. As he was returning, feeling that he could not reach the shore, he cast a last affectionate look toward the lady, threw the flowers and said, “Forget-Me-Not.”

A spokesperson said, “It is our ‘Forget-Me-Not’ sale that says to everyone throughout the year ‘Remember Me.’ When we pass the flowers to eager hands upon the street we are saying, ‘Remember and Forget me not, I am a Disabled American Veteran.’”

SBU PSA: Interview Buffalo Unit 62 Commander Melissa “Tank” Mizio

The Disabled American Veterans is an organization created by the United States Congress for disabled military veterans of the United States Armed Forces that helps them and their families through various means. There are about 3.8 Disabled American Veterans in the United States. The DAV currently has nearly 1.3 million members. If you would like to know more, please visit http://www.DAV.org

Video PSA for Disabled American Veterans produced by SBU Multi-Media Production students, Brandon Pool, Hailey Trimmer, and Alyssa Bethards.