Free shuttle will take SLO County veterans to VA health clinics

A free shuttle service designed to take veterans from throughout the San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties to and from Veterans Administration health clinics will kick into gear Oct. 15, according to project coordinator Milt Batson.

The Central Coast Volunteer Veterans’ Shuttle collaboration will serve vets from as far north as San Miguel and Cambria, east to Shandon, and south into Santa Barbara County. It will operate Monday through Friday.

Veterans will need to arrange for the transportation assistance through their local VA clinic five working days in advance of their appointments, Batson said. For San Luis Obispo VA clinic appointments, Batson said to phone 805-543-1233. For the Santa Maria VA clinic, call 805-354-6000.

Batson noted that the collaboration involved hard work by disparate organizations and individuals, including Disabled American Veterans, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the large community of veterans who live in the two counties.

He praised in particular veteran volunteer drivers.

“This sorely needed program has come to fruition due to local veterans unselfishly volunteering to transport veteran comrades to their local VA Clinic medical appointments and the ongoing operational funding generously provided by the VA,” Batson said.

It “remedies a long-term transportation problem for our region’s veteran heroes of missing out on VA Clinic medical appointments due to lack of personal resources,” he said.