Once every few months, Guy Wood finds it necessary to repeat an old message:
Volunteer drivers are needed.
Wood repeated the message Friday. The small cadre of volunteers who transport veterans to Veterans Administration doctor appointments in Temple needs to grow, Wood said. Wood is the coordinator of the volunteer drivers.
Five days a week, a VA-owned van with a volunteer driver leaves Brownwood at 7 a.m., typically taking anywhere from one to seven veterans to Temple. The van is back in Temple between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., Wood said.
The intent is to have enough volunteers so that each driver makes no more than two trips a month, Wood said. Currently there are about seven volunteer drivers, and at least five more are needed.
While the job doesn’t provide a paycheck, it does produce a few perks such as a free meal at the VA canteen in Temple each trip and a free yearly physical including an EKG, Wood said.
You don’t have to be a veteran to be a volunteer driver, and you don’t need a commercial driver’s license. You just need to fill out an application, pass a physical and undergo a background check, Wood said.
An application can be picked up at VA clinic in Brownwood. For more information, call Wood at 325-998-4121.
“You’re doing a service,” Wood said of being a volunteer driver.
Wood said in an earlier interview that driving veterans has been a rewarding experience, and he previously drove a 92-year-old World War II veteran and his wife of 69 years.
“Each drive will be different and never the same,” Wood said.
Wood, a retired teacher, said he became a volunteer driver in 2007 or 2008. He said he started volunteering after playing tennis with a retired Marine who told Wood “we need some drivers,” Wood said.
Before retiring, Wood taught what was then known as distributive education — now known as marketing — for 33 years in Andrews.
After Wood retired, he and his wife, Brenda, moved to Brownwood to be near a granddaughter.