For nearly eight years, Havre veterans have been able to count on a van operated by the Disabled American Veterans to take them to and from doctor appointments at Fort Harrison in Helena.
It is up to the good-hearted people to Havre to ensure that a van continues to operate.
The van presently used by DAV to transport veterans is showing signs of age, and Lou Hagener, the program's area coordinator, said it's time to get a new one.
The van is vital to Havre and Hi-Line vets. Some can't drive because of their age. Others need eye treatments in Helena which precludes them from driving home.
When people enlist in the military, they are given a commitment that they will always receive quality health care. Fort Harrison provides just that quality care. But those of us in rural areas know that getting to and from health care facilities is a vital part of staying healthy. Without the van, many veterans told the Havre Daily News, they would have a hard time getting to Helena.
Organizers say they are now helping a diverse group of vets. Younger people, veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan wars, are joining vets of earlier conflicts in using the van.
Thanks to Havre Rifle and Pistol Club for donating $1,000 to the fund that has been set up for the van. But lots more money is needed before DAV can purchase a van.
Contributing to the van fund would be a great way of saying thank you to the veterans who performed such a valuable service to our country. There are plenty of great causes in Havre competing for the money of people willing and sable to give, but it's hard to think of any cause more worthy.
If you can. Chip in a few bucks. Write checks to “Havre DAV van fund” and mail it to North Central Senior Center, 2 W. 2nd St., Havre MT 59501.