Availability of veterans’ transportation questioned

A former Bartholomew County veterans services officer chastised the county commissioners for the lack of medical trips the county provides to the Indianapolis VA hospital.

Thom Jester, a Marines Corps veteran, berated the commissioners at their Monday morning meeting, saying that the county did not have a van running to Indianapolis, requiring veterans to find their own transportation for medical appointments. Jester pointed out one veteran who had spent more than $100 for a taxi ride to Indy.

But the commissioners said the county does in fact use a van from a veterans organization to run those trips. But the problem is a lack of volunteer drivers who meet the requirements of the Veterans Affairs Administration.

Commissioner Larry Kleinhenz said the van makes 15 to 18 trips a month to transport veterans for their medical needs, but it used to do more.