Veterans Van program seeks volunteer drivers

Julie Davis
Nebraska City News-Press

The Otoe County Veterans Van Program is looking for a few good volunteers.

Volunteer drivers are needed to take veterans who live in the county to medical appointments in Lincoln and Omaha, said Otoe County Veterans Service Officer Chad Miller.

Miller said he has six drivers right now, and he would like to recruit about 10 more volunteers.

Driver candidates must pass a physical and a background check that are provided by the VA, said Miller. They receive an ID badge, which they can present at the cafeteria of the Omaha VA Hospital to receive a free meal on days they drive. 

Potential drivers must also provide proof of personal auto insurance before driving, and they must pass a VA orientation presentation.

Miller said the vans were provided to the county by the Disabled American Veterans, and the Veterans Administration provides all the routine maintenance and covers the fuel costs for the vehicles.

When the vehicles reach the 150,000-mile mark, they will become the property of Otoe County, which can then auction them off and use the proceeds toward the purchase of newer vehicles, said Miller.

Miller said transporation requests from veterans are increasing, and the vans have been used for about 7,000 miles of trips since October 2020 when the county received them.  Transportation is provided free of charge to veterans in the county.

Some drivers, such as Mary Gimenez, volunteer to drive their fellow veterans as a way to give back to the community. Others, such as Mike Dickhausen, honor the service of their parents or other relatives with their volunteer work.

Contact Miller at 402-873-9540 with questions or to obtain an application packet. 

Mike Dickhausen and Mary Gimenez are two of the current Otoe County Veterans Van drivers. Otoe County Veterans Service Officer Chad Miller would like to recruit additional volunteers.