Veteran volunteer drivers are needed in Prince William, Fairfax and Loudon counties to help fellow veterans who need transportation to vital medical appointments, according to the Dulles Area Transportation Association.
DATA started the pilot project with its longtime partner, NV Rides, to address a critical need for elderly and disabled veterans. Veterans Connect expands upon an existing volunteer driver program for which DATA recruits and NV Rides provides sophisticated backend volunteer-service matching software.
Elderly veterans say they are more likely to take advantage of a volunteer ride provided by someone who has also served, according to the organizations.
“We think this veteran-specific expansion of our NV Rides program underscores our belief that our network provides ‘More than just a ride,’” said Jennifer Kanarek, NV Rides manager.
In 2019, before the pandemic, NV Rides’ volunteer driver programs served almost 1,000 individuals with more than 9,500 rides, she added. “Stories of joyful moments between volunteers and passengers are more often the rule than the exception.”
Veterans Connect Mobility Manager Luke Frazza added, “The feedback we’ve received from local veteran service organizations has been nothing but positive, and garnered praise from across our community.”
While Veterans Connect is focused on recruiting veterans, anyone interested in driving neighbors in need is welcome to apply and will be directed to an appropriate service organization that needs volunteer drivers.