The American Red Cross and the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) have partnered to expand their program for veterans to include both Lake County and Sonoma County. Through the Red Cross Service to Armed Forces initiative, the partner organizations provide taxi vouchers and bus passes to help veterans get to medical care at Veterans Affairs facilities. A special check presentation ceremony by sponsor PG&E and the Red Cross took place at the Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic in Santa Rosa on May 23, 2014. PG&E awarded a grant of $11,275 to allow the expansion of the program to include Sonoma County veterans.
Representatives from the local Red Cross, Veterans Administration and Vet Connect were on hand; the two latter organizations manage distribution of the vouchers in Sonoma and Lake Counties. Since Fall 2013, PG&E has sponsored the program through the Lake County VA Outpatient Clinic. Additionally, former recipients of the transportation voucher as well as individual donors to the program (veterans) spoke at the ceremony. “We were pleased to be able to bring this important program back to Sonoma County while expanding on our existing program in Lake County,” said Tim Miller, Red Cross Chief Executive Officer, California Northwest Region. “The Red Cross has a long history of service to the Armed Forces dating back to our founding by Clara Barton in the Civil War.”
According to U.S. Census Bureau data, Sonoma County is home to more than 33,000 veterans with nearly 8,000 living in Lake County. The sprawling nature of the counties makes it difficult for many veterans without personal transportation to access VA clinics. For low income veterans, a bus pass or taxi voucher can dramatically increase her/his quality of life. Veterans should contact the VA Clinics or Vet Connect for details.
The American Red Cross’ unwavering commitment to members of the U.S. military, its veterans and their families continues to grow and develop more than a century after Clara Barton first recruited nurses to support the U.S. Army. Today, the Red Cross is meeting the needs of a changing military and expanding services to veterans. Both active duty and community-based military can count on their local Red Cross and a global network to provide emergency communications that link them with their families’ back home, access financial assistance in partnership with military aid societies as well as information referral and assistance to veterans.
For more information on Service to the Armed Forces, go to redcross.org.