The DAV Transportation Network got a generous boost from corporate partners in early December when Wells Fargo and the Northern Virginia-based Jim Koons Automotive Group teamed up to provide a brand-new, payment-free vehicle to the organization.
Washington Headquarters Executive Director Randy Reese accepted the 2021 Ford Explorer on DAV’s behalf during a key ceremony at Koons Falls Church Ford, outside the nation’s capital. He was joined by representatives from Wells Fargo Auto and Jim Koons Automotive Group as well as by Virginia Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw.
“This vehicle will allow us to carry out our mission and serve veterans in the Washington, D.C., area,” said Reese. “We are grateful for Wells Fargo’s dedication to the veteran community and appreciative for all they do for our organization.”
The donation was part of Wells Fargo’s Sponsored Vehicle Donation Program, which was started in 2015 to support combat-wounded veterans, Gold Star families and military- and veteran-related nonprofit organizations such as DAV. Since then, the company has worked with auto dealerships across the country to donate over 60 vehicles, along with financial mentoring for veterans and their families, valued at over $2 million.
The vehicle will enter the DAV Transportation Network—a fleet of vehicles the organization operates nationwide to provide ill and injured veterans with free transportation to Department of Veterans Affairs medical facilities for their medical appointments. The vehicles are driven by volunteers, and the rides are coordinated by more than 155 hospital service coordinators around the country.
“Those veterans are taking care of other veterans—to the tune of 1.2 million hours donated every year—making sure injured and sick veterans can get to their appointments,” Reese said. “Because what’s the point of having a great health care system if you can’t get there to use it?”
The new vehicle will connect the dots in that process, he continued.
“We’re talking about 20 million miles annually driven,” said Reese. “During the pandemic, a quarter of a million veterans were safely transported. It enriched their lives, made them healthier and, in some cases, saved their lives.”
Since the Transportation Network began in 1987, DAV departments and chapters, along with the National Service Foundation’s Columbia Trust, have donated 3,558 vehicles and Ford Motor Co. has donated 239 vehicles, at a value of nearly $89 million.