For many veterans, daily trips that most of take for granted can be next to impossible. But a free program with cab rides offered by the Alamo Area Council of Governments makes it much easier.
"We will pick you up at your doorstep and take you to wherever it is you need to go. And when you are done with your appointment, we pick you back up and take you back to your doorstep," said Rudy Gonzales, a veteran that works with AACOG.
"You might be going a mile and it takes you two hours to get there, whereas with this program, you get there in five or 10 minutes providing the speed limit," said Vietnam veteran Grady Penley, who usually takes the bus.
Friday was his third time using AACOG's Call-A-Ride-4-Vets.
"I've had three cancers, so I can't really be in a lot of weather that's bad, and with this program, I just call them and say, 'Hey I need to do this,' and I set it up three days ahead of time, and in three days they are there," Penley added.
"I'm going from here to Audie Murphy [Hospital]. I have an appointment out there," said Vietnam veteran Tom Emrick, who's using the service for the first time.
Emrick says that he normally doesn't like to ask for help, but was willing to give this program a try.
"Most people like to hide their infirmary," Emrick noted. "They don't want people to know that they've got problems. Like, I always wear my brace under my pants instead of over."
Emrick admits that vets need this program.
"There are a lot of veterans that can get cured because they don't have transportation," Emrick added.
"We have individuals who rely on us to go to their chemo treatment, to go to their physical rehab, to do dialysis," Gonzales said.
Free rides aren't limited to the VA either. The program can take veterans to a supermarket, a pharmacy to get some medication, a laundromat, or perhaps to a friends home. And the program isn't just for veterans.
"It is for veterans, their widows, dependents, and spouses," Gonzales explained.
The program offers four free rides each calendar year, depending on funding. To find out how to sign up for the program, you can call AACOG at 210-362-5254, email them, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or check out the program online at their official website.
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