The first of the vans was delivered Tuesday to the Detroit VA Healthcare System. The vans, built GM’s Wentzville (Mo.) Assembly Plant and UAW Local 2250 near St. Louis, are specially adapted to accommodate veterans using wheelchairs or who have other mobility issues.
The other facilities receiving vans are: Battle Creek VA Medical Center, Battle Creek, Mich.; G.V. Sonny Montgomery VA Medical Center, Jackson, Miss.; VA St. Louis Health Care System, St. Louis, and the Philadelphia Veterans Multi-Service & Education Center, Inc., Philadelphia. Each van is customized with special equipment to meet the specific needs of each facility.
“Those who serve our country deserve the best, and these brand-new, full-size vans built by our team in Wentzville will help the VA medical centers safely and comfortably transport vets to wherever they need to go,” said Cathy Clegg, GM vice president of North American Labor Relations. “On behalf of our patriotic workforce with nearly 5,000 military veteran employees, and 45,000 retirees who are veterans, we’re glad to make a difference in veterans’ lives.”
Veterans of all ages, including those who served recently in Iraq and Afghanistan, receive both medical and long-term care at VA medical centers. Age, medical issues such as strokes and diabetes, and injuries all present challenges in transporting veterans to much-needed medical visits, field trips or other appointments.
“In Detroit, this van will fill quite a gap in terms of transportation needs for our veterans who are residents of our Community Living Center,” said Dr. Pamela Reeves, Detroit VA Medical Center director.
“When it comes to the unique needs of our vets, buses and vans can sometimes be ‘one size fits all’ when they are made, so many times we end up taking a few different vehicles on our outings and field trips,” she said. “The fact that this van will actually be fitted with the specific equipment that meets the needs of our veterans, and to the specifications of our recreational therapists, is truly unique.”
Said Joe Ashton, UAW vice president and director, General Motors Department: ““We owe veterans a debt for their courageous service to this nation. The men and women of the UAW, many of whom are veterans themselves, are grateful to those who have worn this nation’s uniform and are proud to know that these high-quality vans built by the members of UAW Local 2250 will be used by veterans who have special transportation needs.”
# # #With nearly 5,000 military veteran employees, General Motors’ support for the United States armed forces spans generations. Today, Chevrolet assists Cell Phones for Soldiers, Achilles Freedom Team of Wounded Veterans, the Fallen and Wounded Soldiers Fund, a variety of employment and grassroots initiatives, and is the Official Vehicle of the Army-Navy Game. The GM Military Discount program offers the industry’s best discounts on most Chevrolet, Buick and GMC vehicles for active duty, reserves, veterans (within one year of discharge date) and retirees and spouses of the U.S. Air Force, Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and National Guard. GM also is a proud sponsor of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Hiring our Heroes initiative aimed and finding meaningful employment for veterans transitioning to civilian life. GM’s military community can be found on Facebook.