Douglas County may stop veteran van service - KBJR 6 Your Weather Authority: News, Weather & Sports

Douglas County may stop veteran van service

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Right now veterans in Douglas County have two primary ways to get to the VA Hospital in Minneapolis.
They can go to the Disabled American Veterans which will shuttle them down, or a county van will come to their home and pick them up. 
But that last option might not be available for much longer. 

The Douglas County Board of Health and Human Services is considering whether to eliminate a medical van for veterans which brings them to the VA hospital in Minneapolis. 

The reason? 
There aren't enough veterans using it. 

"[We're] 59 percent less capacity than what we were the prior year. That equates to about 14 and a half veterans being transported by our services a month which equates to about three and a half per week," said Brian Erickson, Douglas County veterans service officer

Getting rid of the van would save the county close to $23,000 a year. 
The savings would be used for projects like upgrading the department's computer systems 

But some are not in support of this possible change. 

"Some of us do have to go down to Minneapolis, and that's where that county van comes in handy. The 20 bucks that we have to pay on for a round trip is much more beneficial than trying to catch a cab to the clinic here in Superior and back home again," said Todd Peterson, a veteran.

Veteran Service Officer Brian Erickson said there are other options for veterans.

"One was Senior Connections they're more local based here that pick up just about anybody that meets their qualifications. And I also use North Country Independent Living," said Erickson.

And the Minnesota and Wisconsin DAVs are willing to take over the additional passengers.

"So they're at full capacity. They were operating four days a week and since I approached them they have increased to five days a week," said Erickson.

The board tabled the issue today.
They'll discuss it again some time after October. 

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