Scaled-back VETRIDES will survive
December 11, 2012, 9:00 pm by James Walker
Burnet County’s successful VETRIDES program will survive, downsizing to provide dire needs services to military veterans who need help getting to medical and other appointments, Burnet County Veterans Services Officer Chuck Caraway said Tuesday.
Caraway and other supporters of veterans and the VETRIDES program have been scrambling to save the program since the Texas Veterans Commission announced last month it will not provide grant funding for the program in the first months of 2013.
The veterans commission gave the program $90,000 in grant money in 2011 and has given it $100,230 to this point in 2012, Burnet County grants coordinator Debbie Carter said.
The money came from the commission’s veterans’ lottery scratch-off receipts.
The program has flourished with volunteers and a corps of drivers, many of whom were paid to ferry elderly, infirmed and sometimes impoverished veterans to hospitals and clinics for medical appointments, veterans administration offices for meetings related to benefits and other services and to local grocery stores and pharmacies.
With the loss of funding, the paid positions will be eliminated and the programs will survive or fail on the strength of volunteers and donations, Caraway said.
"Our plans are to go to an all-volunteer driver crew,” Caraway said in an interview Tuesday after attending the Burnet County Commissioners Court meeting.
For more of this story, see Wednesday's Burnet Bulletin.
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