Harley's Heroes: mobile van helps counsel disabled veterans
FORT MYERS, Fla. - From riding to raising awareness, dozens of bikers turn out to help southwest Florida's disabled veterans.
"I found out they were here today and i came out to support them," said Jimmie Dennis, 52, of Fort Myers, who served in Panama from 1979 to 1984.
Dennis says the VA saved his life.
"I was diagnosed with cancer two years ago," explained Dennis. "They took care of me as well as any other hospital in the world could take care of you."
While it's an unusual site for this Harley parking lot in Fort Myers, this van is a helping hand on wheels. Professionals offer advice on everything from treatment to finances.
"We go out and we try to contact veterans who aren't able to come see us," said Kelly Sunday, with the National Service Office for Disabled American Veterans (DAV). "We help them with their pending claims or questions they have regarding VA benefits."
Because these specialists know first-hand.
"We've either been through the process or are going through the process," added Sunday. "So, we understand the frustration with the system."
The van travels from city-to-city helping wounded heroes.
For Vietnam Vet Ken Coon, its presence is important.
"I'm not disabled which I'm thankful for but if i was, that would be the place for a disabled veteran to go," said Coon, 63, of Fort Myers.
And a reminder that struggles don't just end on the battlefield.
"The freedom of riding, it kind of corresponds with being a vet," concluded Dennis. "We fought for our freedom."
For more information about services for disabled veterans, call the DAV office at (727) 319-7444 and ask for Mr. Driscoll.