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Drivers desperately needed for DAV

September 20, 2018

LAUGHLIN ― A lack of volunteer drivers has limited the Disabled American Veterans Transportation Network to three days of driving.

“If I could get five drivers, that would be great,” said hospital services coordinator Jose Burrola, with the Veterans Administration Southern Nevada Healthcare System. “Five would be great and seven would be outstanding.”

The DAV transports veterans from Laughlin, Bullhead City, Needles and Golden Valley to Las Vegas for various medical appointments, said Burrola.

“There are a lot of veterans with no means to get to their medical appointments,” Burrola said. “We do have veterans who drive, but they may not drive out of a certain radius for various reasons.”

The Tri-state area makes 72 to 100 trips per month, Burrola said.

The DAV also provides transportation in Boulder City, Henderson, Las Vegas, Mesquite and Pahrump.

“We are short drivers everywhere,” said Burrola.

Winter visitors often volunteer but when they go home it leaves DAV short handed and clients without transportation, he continued.

With the current roster of drivers, Laughlin DAV provides rides to and from appointments on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays. If there were enough drivers, he could offer rides five days a week, Burrola said.

A typical ride works like this: a driver picks up passengers at 5 a.m. from the pick up location at the Riverside Resort Hotel and Casino. The group arrives in Las Vegas around 7 or 8 a.m., are back on the road to Laughlin between 10:30 a.m. and noon and arrive at he Riverside by about 2 p.m.

There are only a few requirements to be a volunteer driver, including a physical to gauge a driver’s physical abilities fitness. The DAV also tests for drugs and other potential liabilities.

Burrola made it clear the physical isn’t about anything other than ensuring safe driving. The drivers do not lift, push or carry clients, he said. The job is only to drive from the pick up point to Las Vegas, he added.

To become a volunteer, potential drivers must go to Las Vegas to provide a valid driver’s license, proof of insurance and take the physical, Burrola said.

Personal insurance is required to cover the driver in the event he takes a detour or alternate route and something happens. Alternate routes are not covered by the DAV, said Burrola.

Anything that happens, such as a tire blowout, while in direct route to the appointment is covered by the DAV, he continued.

Volunteers are accommodated for taking the time to go to the DAV’s main office in North Las Vegas and fill out the paperwork, Burrola said. They are given free meals and transportation to the office, he added.

“This is more of a family than a business,” said Burrola.

For more information or to become a volunteer contact hospital service coordinator Jose Burrola at 702-791-9000 ext. 46028 or send email to jose.burrola@va.gov.

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