Partnership highlights veterans’ stories to raise awareness of DAV’s mission, needs
Before 2020, veterans in and around Cambria County, Pennsylvania, knew they could rely on David Wagner and his team of volunteer drivers to get them to their VA medical appointments.
Wagner, the commander of DAV Chapter 2 in Windber, said his 15 drivers and a scheduler handled nearly 85 riders a month. But when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, his volunteer corps dwindled to all but a small handful of drivers and no scheduler.
Now that most of the area has reopened, he said he needs more volunteers since many veterans don’t have a reliable alternative to the DAV Transportation Network.
“We have a lot of aging veterans around here,” said Wagner.
To help meet that and other needs, Chapter 2 and other chapters throughout the country recently got an awareness boost from Sinclair Cares: Supporting All Veterans, a nationwide partnership between DAV and Sinclair Broadcast Group.
Sinclair’s media footprint spans 185 television stations in 86 markets, Bally Sports networks, regional Marquee Sports Network, Tennis Channel and several online streaming channels.
From mid-October through Veterans Day, the Sinclair Cares initiative allowed these outlets to share localized stories about DAV’s mission and members. Many affiliates also aired DAV’s centennial documentary “The Battle Never Ends.” All that programming was coupled with a call to action to visit the Sinclair Cares website, where visitors could learn more about supporting DAV’s mission.
“We have great respect for the work DAV is doing to help veterans and their families,” said Rob Weisbord, Sinclair Broadcast Group’s president of broadcast. “We learned through our friends at DAV, more than 4 million veterans are living with a service-connected disability that requires ongoing support. We are proud to mobilize our employees and our audiences and do our small part to help veterans in need.”
Wagner said he is thankful for the opportunity to share what his chapter does for veterans. WJAC, the NBC affiliate owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group that serves West Central Pennsylvania, highlighted his need for volunteer drivers on a local news broadcast. Afterward, several people interested in driving reached out to him.
“We got the word out,” he said. “We exist. We’re functional. We’re there for the veterans.”