Wristbands can turn into rides to clinics for SLO County veterans

Fundraising effort supports shuttle service that takes veterans to clinics in Santa Maria and L.A.

slinn@thetribunenews.comNovember 10, 2013 

Former Marine Sgt. Matt Reid (right), Morro Bay, and California National Guardsman John Nall, Morro Bay, to pass out free red, white and blue wristbands to veterans at the Morro Bay Farmer's Market. Frank Elliot (left) of Morro Bay, a Navy veteran in the 1970s, takes a band and reads information about the shuttle service for veterans.

LAURA DICKINSON — ldickinson@thetribunenews.com Buy Photo

  • Where to get wristbands

    Here is a partial list of locations where “Thank a Vet” wristbands are available:

    CAMBRIA

    • American Legion Post 432
    • Cambria Hardware & Lumber (True Value)
    • Cambria farmers market

    GROVER BEACH

    • Rons nursery

    MORRO BAY

    • Morro Bay downtown farmers market

    SAN LUIS OBISPO

    • Applebee’s
    • Coastal Peaks Roasters
    • Perry Ford Lincoln of San Luis Obispo
    • Ride-On Transportation
    • San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce
    • San Luis Obispo farmers market
    • Unique Selections
    • Union Bank

Community members have a new, colorful way to express their appreciation for military veterans, just in time for Veterans Day.

Throughout November, which the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors recently proclaimed "Thank a Vet Month"  several local businesses and organizations will offer solid-colored red, white and blue wristbands bearing the slogan "Thank a Vet" in exchange for donations to  the Veterans Express Shuttle.

Shuttle organizer Greg Shearer and his fellow volunteers are also handing out multicolored red, white and blue wristbands marked with the words “Thank you” to veterans.

According to Shearer, the wristbands are the perfect way to show support for the more than 26,000 vets and their families who live in the county.

All proceeds will go to the Veterans Express Shuttle, which started offering low-cost rides in 2008 as part of Ride-On Transportation in San Luis Obispo.

For $3 each way, the shuttle service takes riders to and from Veterans Affairs outpatient clinics in San Luis Obispo and Santa Maria. From Santa Maria, veterans can catch a second shuttle to a larger clinic in Los Angeles.

Each month, the shuttle provides about 180 rides throughout the county, Shearer said.

“It’s about getting veterans the health care they deserve,” said Shearer, who served in the Army from 1966 to 1968.

Running the shuttle service costs about $60,000 a year, including gas and maintenance expenses. The cost is subsidized by Ride-On and community donations, although the shuttle was briefly shut down in 2010 because of a lack of funds.

“We’re not the only county (in California) who has issues with transporting veterans,” Shearer said, “but we might be the only county that’s doing anything about it.”

For more information about the Veterans Express Shuttle, call 541-8747 or visit http://www.ride-on.org.

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