SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – When they’re in active duty, those in the military serve their country by defending it, and after they come home, there are still some looking for other ways to keep on serving.
At the DAV, their motto is ‘veterans helping veterans.’ Their goal is to give the highest quality of life to those who fought hard to give us ours.
Despite their name, being a member of the Disabled Veterans of America in South Dakota doesn’t mean you have limits.
“You don’t have to be a disabled veteran for us to help you. You can belong to the American Legion, VFW, you don’t have to belong to any of the veteran organizations and yet you can come to us for help,” Sioux Falls Chapter Commander James Wosje said.
Members of the DAV spend their time going around the community helping their fellow veterans in places such as the VA hospital…
“It’s rewarding working with a lot of the vets and meeting a lot of new people and we volunteer up at the VA hospital with escorting patients around,” Member and Volunteer Marvin Holmgren said.
“They have, what they call a ‘stand-down’ where you go out and veterans come in and they get haircuts and clothes,” Member and Volunteer Gary Deerue Sr. said.
…and others that benefit the community.
“We have things like Veteran’s Day coming up. After we have the ceremony over at Lincoln High School we have dinner here for any of the vets and their families,” Wosje said.
As much as they do their part,
They’re always looking for help out in the field.
“There’s a lot of different things like food supply for the veterans that are homeless,” Holmgren said.
“Getting these vets to the hospital or to their medical appointments on time and getting them back home again,” Wosje said.
“It’s rewarding to give back to the guys that have put their life on the line for you,” Holmgren said.
Veteran or not, helping out can make a big impact.
“A lot of the guys don’t like to talk about areas they were into but they’ll talk to another vet about it and get some of the stuff and issues off their mind and that so it’s… kind of like an extra accomplishment that you’ve done that helps people out,” Holmgren said.
“For someone who will do as only much as they’ll do for a ‘thank you,’ to a vet, that means the world,” Wosje said.
“I mean, I’m 81 years old and I get around pretty good and there’s a lot of people in their 50’s that can hardly do anything. They need help… and I’m always willing to help,” Deerue Sr. said.
If you want to learn more about their organization and ways you can volunteer, you can check out their website.