Both Zimmerman and Dudik agreed that the program could use more volunteers, which at the moment has a headcount of 10 drivers.
“We try to schedule them to drive once or twice a month,” Dudik said, adding that without them, the program would not be possible – without people like Johnnie Keeling.
Keeling, a retired superintendent of Elkhart Independent School District, has volunteered for the program since February of 2005.
“I'm not a veteran, but I've always felt that I owe veterans,” Keeling said. “We can never repay them for the time and sacrifice that they make away from their families, and their dedication to the country. And this is a small way for me to give something back. I get a whole lot more out of it than I have to put into it, and it's a joy to carry the veterans — it makes you appreciate our country and the sacrifice that they make when they go over there.”
To become a volunteer, persons must go though an orientation, pass a routine physical, have a clean driver's record and of course a valid drivers license.
The Palestine VA Clinic is located inside the Palestine Mall at 2000 S. Loop 256.