The VFW contributed the $27,000 needed for the local match to access federal funds through the Nebraska Department of Roads to purchase the vans, which have a total price tag of $135,000. Each is fully equipped to handle the disabled. They will be used by veterans homes in Norfolk, Bellevue and Grand Island.
Nebraska Veterans Affairs Director John Hilgert says the smaller vans can meet various needs.
“For example, if they have to go into the community for specialty care, sometimes it’s hard to navigate a huge bus and it’s better to have these vans,” according to Hilgert. “It’s more economical. It’s more efficient. It’s more responsive. It will make a real difference in getting to those appointments.”
The federal funds come from a program that helps private, non-profit entities purchase transportation for people with disabilities and the elderly. The Federal Transit Administration provides the money administered by the Nebraska Department of Roads.
“We see this as a partnership, a partnership with the state of Nebraska, a partnership with the Department of Roads with the federal Transit Administration and, in this instance, with the Veterans of Foreign Wars,” Lt. Governor Rick Sheehy says. “They went out and they raised over $27,000 to help match the money that came through the Department of Roads.”
Nebraska VFW Adjutant John Liebsack says members generously gave to provide the local match.