Collier County’s volunteers provide an invaluable service to our residents and visitors, and some of our most important volunteers work with Collier County Veteran Services.
Collier County Veteran Services relies on volunteers to transport some 1,100 veterans annually to medical appointments at the C.W. Bill Young VA Medical Center in Bay Pines (near St. Petersburg), the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital in Tampa, the Miami VA Medical Center and the Cape Coral VA Clinic. The county provides this service to veterans free of charge to these facilities, which are operated by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Last year, volunteers donated nearly 2,500 hours and drove nearly 70,000 miles helping our program be successful. Volunteers drive when they can, with some driving one or two times a week while others drive once or twice a month. Volunteer Daniel Daoust has donated the most time to our organization, driving 14,599 miles over 393 hours last year. Mr. Daoust, a retired veteran of the United States Marine Corps, goes above and beyond for our community’s veterans by driving those with medical appointments to and from C.W. Bill Young VA Medical Center every week. This is no small feat as the 325-mile round trip generally begins at 5:30 a.m.
“We are highly dependent on the drivers willing to donate their time for our veterans. We appreciate that they are willing to help those who have sacrificed for our freedom,” said Amanda Townsend, director Collier County Veteran Services. “And the more drivers we have, the more veterans we will be able to serve.”
Veteran Services is accepting applications from people who would like to volunteer to drive our veterans to their appointments. Applicants must go through some training and will drive VA-provided passenger vans Mondays through Fridays in the mornings so that the vans can return to the county by the afternoon.
For more information or to apply, call (239) 252-4VAN (4826).