BROOKINGS – The 727th Transportation U.S. Army National Guard Committee of Brookings will present a check for more than $40,000 to the Disabled American Veterans Hospital Transportation Network at 1 p.m. Saturday.
The 727th hosted the 727th/DAV 14th annual Charity Poker Run on Sept. 1 in Brookings. This year’s donation will bring the total donations to more than $223,000 in 14 years from the annual poker runs.
The DAV uses the funds to purchase vehicles and operate the DAV Hospital Transportation Network, which provides free rides for any veteran to the VA Health Care Systems and VA Clinics.
In 2017, the program in South Dakota provided free rides for 8,160 veterans, logging 18,609 volunteer hours by drivers who drove 487,677 miles.
The DAV Hospital Transportation Network was started in Sioux Falls in 1984 and was picked up in 1987 as a DAV national program. Currently there are 27 vehicles in South Dakota at the following locations: Aberdeen, Belle Fourche, Brookings, Fort Thompson, Huron, Lake Andes, Lemmon, Madison, McLaughlin, Milbank, Miller, Mitchell, Mobridge, Pierre, Rapid City, Redfield, Rosebud, Sioux City, Sioux Falls (three vehicles), Sisseton, Sturgis, Yankton, Watertown, Webster and Winner.
Two hospital transportation service coordinators located at VA Black Hills Health Care System at VA Ft. Meade and VA Health Care System in Sioux Falls.
The drivers who serve the veterans are all volunteers.