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This is the van veterans will be looking for at the Susanville Veterans Clinic on Tuesdays and Thursdays if they have scheduled a ride to the Reno VA Hospital. For veterans needing a lift, contact ride coordinator Aubrey Hawkins at 258-0319 to schedule a ride once an appointment is made. If interested in helping out as a driver, call the same number. Photo submitted

DAV van serves Lassen and north Plumas veterans

Since 1987 there have been a few volunteers that have devotedly served the veterans of northern Plumas and Lassen counties by providing transportation from Susanville to the Reno VA Hospital and back.

Most of their clientele are from the greater Susanville area, but quite a few veterans that live in the Westwood and Lake Almanor area use the service as well.

It has been said more than once that the DAV van service is one of the best-kept secrets in the region.

Well, be assured that is certainly not the intent of any veteran or veteran service individual that already knows about it.

Aubrey Hawkins has been driving and/or coordinating the service for over 10 years now and he makes a point of telling everyone that mentions the Reno VA about the ride service available.

The van travels to the Reno VA Hospital every Tuesday and Thursday. It can carry four patients over and back. The van leaves from the VA Clinic in Susanville two hours prior to the first appointment time scheduled. Riders will be notified of the departure time.

Because of the varying departure times, reservations for a ride should be called in as soon as the veteran’s medical appointment is made.

Hawkins said, “It’s better to make a ride appointment a month (over even two) ahead of time. The longer they wait the more chance of the van being full for that day.”

Hawkins is the ride coordinator for the DAV van and will be happy to sign up veterans and answer any questions they might have. The number is 258-0319.

Hawkins offered a big thank you to the volunteers that have been faithfully driving each week as they make it possible for those vets that don’t drive, can’t drive or can’t afford to drive make it to their appointments.

He also extended an invitation to anyone that would like to help by driving the van a day or two a month.

Drivers don’t have to be a veteran to volunteer.

The pay is minimal — a free breakfast or lunch at the hospital — but the gratification is plentiful with the grateful thanks of the veterans served.

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