Taos Nonprofit provides veteran round-trip transportation to Albuquerque | Native information

In an effort to expand health care for veterans in Taos County, a local group is out and inviting veterinarians in Albuquerque to participate.

The North Central New Mexico Veterans Transportation Network will begin driving vets from Taos to Albuquerque to make appointments to help some vets who may not make it south. After several years of planning and fundraising, the organization is good to go and is looking for vets who need a lift and drivers to help with the miles.

“It took a long time,” said President David Doolittle.

Doolittle and the board build on the dream of local World War II veteran and Vice President Jerry Laughlin to serve veterans in the community. According to Laughlin, he now has the backing of a hard-working board who managed to cross the T’s and puncture the I’s to buy a seven-person van for a new era of troop transport.

The van is scheduled to make its maiden voyage south on Monday (September 17), provided veterans sign up for the ride. Journeys to medical or administrative appointments are free for veterans as part of the Taos service and depart from the VA Clinic in Taos. Passengers are allowed to bring an accompanying person for the journey and must register the journeys 72 hours in advance.

“We are only asking for community support,” said Treasurer Lawrence Vargas. “All we need is help from the community.”

The association is a registered non-profit association and accepts donations for the services. According to Laughlin, the board raised funds to buy the vehicle, but not to service it, and is seeking help from the community.

Veterans Affairs Services date back to the earliest American conflicts by providing pensions for the wounded or disabled in war. In 1921, Congress created the Veterans Bureau to consolidate the services that World War I veterans were rendered under the federal umbrella. Since then, the U.S. has expanded its coverage to veterans and families and built the Department of Veterans Affairs to serve veterans in a variety of ways.

For more information or to plan a trip to Albuquerque, visit the group’s website at vetrides.org or call (575) 779-5517.

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