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Centre County VA Office Needs Drivers to Take Assist Veterans

by and on January 06, 2014 2:45 PM

If you have some time on your hands during the day, the Centre County Veterans Affairs office needs your help.

The Centre County VA office is in dire need of drivers to take Centre County Veterans to the VA Hospital in Altoona.

According to Gerald Lyons, the number of drivers has dwindled through the years.

“We just need volunteer drivers to transport the men and women to doctor's appointments or dental appointments, whatever they need to do,” says Lyons, who also oversees the Veteran's Assistance Fund for Centre County Vets.

The Centre County VA office supplies the van and the gas, Lyons said.

“We have a gas card,” he explains, “so there's no cost to the driver at all.”

Drivers have to be trained before they are cleared to drive the van, however.

“Training isn't hard. (Drivers) have to get a physical just so they know you're fit to drive (the van),” Lyons says. “It's really pretty simple.”

By transporting veterans to Altoona — approximately a 45-minute drive — drivers are performing a kind act for those who served in the United States military.

“The veterans need help. They can't drive. They don't have a car … some of them don't have a driver's license. Some of them aren't medically cleared to drive,” Lyons explained.

At one time, there was a plethora of drivers. Those days are long gone, Lyons said.

“We used to have lots of drivers. But some of them passed away, some of them moved away. It's a real need now,” he says.

If you'd like to volunteer to drive, call (814) 355-6812, extension 2. Calls are accepted Monday through Friday, 9 to 11:30 a.m.

As a veteran himself, the cause is near and dear to Lyons' heart. He's the driving force behind the Veteran's Assistance Fund. The fund is always looking for donations to help veterans in need — whether it be assistance with heating oil, an electric bill or rent.

“We're still taking donations to the fund,” Lyons says. “There's always a need. We've helped a lot of veterans. (Donors) can check our website to see how much we've given away.”

To donate to the Veteran's Assistance Fund, non-taxable donations can be submitted by check or money order to: Veteran's Assistance Fund, c/o First National Bank, 137 N. Allegheny St., Bellefonte, PA 16823. Click HERE to donate online.

Or for more information about the fund, contact Lyons at (814) 355-3974.

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This story was produced by the staff at the Centre County Gazette. It was re-published with permission. The Centre County Gazette is a weekly publication, available at many locations around Centre County every Thursday morning.

Chris Morelli is the managing editor of The Centre County Gazette.
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