Volunteers needed to help military veterans

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
You could easily say that Gary Smith is used to shuttling people around, although for much of his life it was in a plane. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) You could easily say that Gary Smith is used to shuttling people around, although for much of his life it was in a plane. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

You could easily say that Gary Smith is used to shuttling people around, although for much of his life it was in a plane. 

"I retired from America West/US Airways in 2013."

But when he retired, Smith, who also served in the Air Force, says he knew he still had a mission to fulfill. 

"I have always known my passion was going to be to help veterans."

So Smith has once again found himself transporting passengers, this time in a van, helping disabled veterans like Ennis Smith get to their appointments.

"Because every vet doesn't have a vehicle, every vet can’t drive. There are vets who can’t see well enough to drive, there are vets who don’t have limbs," explains Ennis Smith who also served in the Air Force.

To make sure those disabilities don't keep vets from getting the care they have earned, the Disabled American Veterans provides this service free of charge, says DAV Senior Vice Commander Glenn Hohman. 

"So know we are trying to reach out and fulfill our obligations as American people to those veterans."

But meeting that obligation requires volunteers, says Hohman. 

"And we are looking for at least another 10 volunteers and that would help get rides to over 100 veterans a month."

You don't have to be vet yourself to volunteer, but you do need a drivers license, and Ennis Smith says a good sense of humor helps, "And it is fun sometimes, not sometimes, all the time actually to tell you the truth."

Hohman says they will take as much or as little time as you can give, and while it is all volunteer the both smiths say there is still a pay off.

"They know you are a volunteer and you are doing this because you want to. And they appreciate it," says driver Gary Smith.

From the back seat Ennis Smith adds, "It is kind of like family. It really is."

If you are interested in volunteering as a driver or in another capacity, you can call the DAV at 602-227-5551 ext. 6419. If you are a veteran who needs a ride the same number extension 7451. You can also visit www.azdav.com.

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