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New van purchased to help transport veterans to VA medical appointments

| August 29, 2014

COSHOCTON – Dave Dilly can’t say thank you enough to those who made donations to help the Disabled American Veterans buy a new van to transport local veterans to VA medical appointments.

“If it wasn’t for you, we wouldn’t have been able to accomplish this,” said Dilly who is commander of the local DAV Chapter 74. “Last year I stuck my hand out and you responded.”

Fraternal and veteran organizations donated $22,000 to help Dilly and the DAV purchase a 2014 Ford E350 XL Wagon 12-passenger van that was on display during a special ceremony Aug. 28 at the court square. The full cost of the van was $27,266.50, but the National DAV covered the rest.

“It’s amazing what we can do together,” Dilly said. “This was all for county veterans.”

Dilly and Jim Shivers, who is the DAV van driver and a Vietnam Veteran, picked the van up Aug. 22, in Cold Springs, Kentucky.

“This one is more comfortable for the passengers,” Shivers said. “The old one sat so low to the ground.”

The DAV’s previous van was a 2005 Ford Freestar SE Wagon that held six passengers. It has racked up 203,338 miles since September 2005, and transported more than 2,400 veterans to VA medical appointments.

“I drive almost every day of the week,” Shivers said. “There is only occasionally a day that I don’t go anywhere.”

He has been volunteering his services for three years now.

“I’m a veteran and I saw there was a need to help other veterans,” Shivers said. “I’m looking forward to driving the new van. It’s easy to maneuver for its size.”

According to Dilly, the new van also has flooring and seats that are easier to clean than the old one.

Otis Martin, who served in the Marines and is a Vietnam Veteran, was the first local veteran to use the van’s services. He had an appointment in Cincinnati the day the van was picked up and got to ride home in it.

“When I got in, it only had 11 miles on it and had that new smell,” Martin said. “I was happy to be able to ride back with them. Without them I couldn’t have been able to afford the trip. I have an old car with 200 some thousand miles on it.”

Dilly has heard many stories similar to Martin’s.

“A lot of veterans can’t afford the trip to their appointments, they can’t drive or they don’t have family that can take them,” he said. “Without this van they wouldn’t go to their VA appointments.”

Veterans who need a ride to their VA medical appointments are encouraged to call the Coshocton County Coordinated Transportation Agency (CCCTA) at 622-7139 as soon as their appointment is scheduled. However, Jim Barstow, veterans’ service officer, said his office, which is located in the basement of the courthouse, also can help veterans work with CCTA if necessary.

“I can’t say enough about the donations that were made for this,” Barstow said. “The Moose alone gave over $10,000 from their block party last year. That really got things going and got the word out. I also think a lot of groups took that as a challenge.”

The 2005 Ford Freestar SE Wagon will be returned to DAV Chapter 74 and Dilly said the group will decide what to do with it.

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About the Author ()

I started my journalism career in 2002 with a daily newspaper chain. After various stops with them, I am happy to be back home! I graduated from Coshocton High School in 1998 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2002 from Walsh University. I also earned several awards while working for daily papers, including being honored by Coshocton County’s veterans for the stories I wrote about them. I am honored and ready to once again shine a positive light on Coshocton County. I also am the proud mother of a little girl named Sophia!

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