The Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod drives aid to local veterans

Bank donates new passenger van to veterans for transport to off-Cape medical appointments

In recognition of Veteran’s Day and grateful for the service of the many veterans living on Cape Cod, The Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod has proudly donated a new van to help transport local veterans to medical appointments off Cape.  Joel Crowell, President of The Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod, presented the van to the veterans at the Hyannis VA Outpatient Clinic this afternoon.

The van is one of two Ford passenger vans being donated to transport disabled local veterans between the VA hospitals and clinics in Hyannis, Providence and New Bedford.  The new vans replace a pair of older ones with mechanical difficulties that made them unreliable for the long trips off Cape.

Upon hearing that the veterans were seeking donations to raise the funds for a new van, The Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod and the local non-profit Heroes In Transition each stepped forward and offered to cover the cost of a van, making it possible to purchase two vans. The brand new, six passenger Ford Explorer donated by the bank was officially put into service today. The other twelve-passenger vehicle is on order and expected to be in service early next year.  The vans, which usually retail for $29,000, were offered to the veterans by Ford Motor Company at a discounted rate. The bank and Heroes in Transition each donated $14,500 to cover the costs.

“When we heard that veterans here on Cape Cod were in need of reliable transportation to make their medical appointments, it was a no brainer,” said Joel Crowell, President of The Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod. “Given their service and dedication, it was a small way for us to simply saythank you.”

The need for two vans reflects the growing number of veterans on the Cape who need travel assistance to the VA hospitals. The vans run four days per week, fifty-two weeks a year, serving veterans from all over Cape Cod and the Islands. The transportation program provides a vital link in the VA health care system, which registers, insures, and pays for the operation of the vans. Over 1200 veterans use the service annually.

“The Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod has long been regarded as a firm with strong roots in its community”, said Ed Merigan, Director, Barnstable District Veterans Services.  “I was initially contacted by Senior Vice President John Fulone who expressed an interest in contributing to the welfare of our large population of veterans on Cape Cod.  That offer quickly evolved to the complete funding of one of the two badly needed vans for the VA clinic.  The veterans’ community on the Cape is deeply grateful to the bank for their extraordinary generosity. “

The vans are driven by volunteer drivers in the Disabled American Veterans transportation program.  Larry Cole, a DAV driver from Harwich, accepted the van keys from Crowell today. With reliable transport now in place, the veterans are still seeking additional volunteer drivers.  Anyone interested should contact Cole at coleslaw1@verizon.net or 508.432.2464.