Letter: Rural veterans in Buncombe County need a lift

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Graphic by Lori Deaton

I am writing about our local veterans who live in rural areas in Buncombe County. My concern is that transportation availability is limited for vets for accessing health services and other essential destinations such as grocery stores. I am encouraging our citizens to help by volunteering to drive veterans in rural county locations.

Our veterans living in rural areas need access to essential health services. Reliable transportation is a missing link that often results in vets’ needs going unmet. Current transportation resources in Buncombe County are inadequate in reaching veterans over age 55 and one-third of those now returning from the Gulf Wars, all of whom reside in rural areas. Those vets who do not have family or friends able to take them by car may be unable to get to outpatient services for mental health, substance abuse, hypertension, diabetes and other chronic diseases.

Here are two ways that individuals might help our vets:

1. One available service is the Disabled American Veterans program, which has qualifications for membership. If eligible, veterans can receive transportation services to all of the health services listed above. Our local DAV needs volunteers to taxi rural veterans to needed services. Anyone interested in volunteering can contact the DAV Buncombe County Chapter No. 2 at 828-367-5591.

2. Not all veterans qualify for the DAV, nor are all transportation needs health-related. Veterans need groceries. Those interested in volunteering [to] transport veterans in remote locations can check with their church, synagogue, mosque or other spiritual community for opportunities.
If anyone knows a veteran who may need assistance, volunteering to take them to health services, grocery stores or shopping, [or] helping drive them is a way of giving thanks for their service to you and our country.

Thank you,

— Teresa Fliearman
Student in the Western Carolina University
Master of Social Work Program
Black Mountain

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4 thoughts on “Letter: Rural veterans in Buncombe County need a lift

  1. Bright

    How about Veterans who live in the city? I know two who depend totally on the ART bus “service” to get to work (they work at the VA) and to get to medical services there. The bus is ridiculous in dependability, especially on Saturday! These guys have had to WALK home after working all day, many times. This is a 3+ mile walk. They both have the bus app and have both seen the bus shortcut stops it was SUPPOSED to make. One driver told passengers that he “…hated it at the bus terminal. It’s a complete mess down there.” Maybe management needs to organize themselves a little better and then they could see that their riders are treated more humanely.

  2. Alan Ditmore

    We need better software to merge uber, mountain mobility, church vans, and other rideshares and carpools. In what percentage of uber rides is does the driver also have a reason to go in the same direction as the passenger’s? what percentage of uber rides transport multiple parties simultaneously? what percentage transport more than 2 passengers at once? Hopefully better software can increase vehicle occupancy at least beyond 3.

  3. Tsalagisister

    From how my child,who is a veteran has been treated, it’s clear that the solutions are designed by clueless fools.
    You cannot expect academics to embrace common sense or vetErans what they need.
    It would be too easy.
    Wasting money on administration rather than people..is a problem on many levels.

    • Alan Ditmore

      It is hard enough to find people who are going to the same place at the same time to share rides with without dividing them into categories like veteran, low income, or disabled.

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