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Finally, local veterans have travel money available

I am very happy to announce we finally have some emergency travel money available.

We can reimburse veterans for travel to VA medical appointments, retroactive back to July 28, 2011.

Veterans who do not get travel money directly from the VA (Albuquerque VAMC) can apply for travel money from our American Legion Colorado Veterans Trust Fund Grant money through this office. All you need is “proof of appointment” that shows you were at a VA medical facility. If you spend the night in Albuquerque, you will need a motel receipt.

This office basically pays the same as the VA for health care appointment travel, based on 41.5 cents a mile. This figures out to be for fuel costs about $100 for Albuquerque VAMC, $60 for Farmington VA Clinic, $45 for Durango Clinic, and $100 for Grand Junction. We can also provide up to $75 for overnight motel stays.

We also have veterans’ emergency funds available. This could assist with such emergencies as help with rent, utilities, food, gas and any other emergency. Veterans need only to provide documentation or explanation in writing of the emergency need and the approval is determined by a veterans’ committee.

This veterans’ assistance money is provided by a grant from the Colorado Veterans Trust Fund obtained by the Pagosa Springs American Legion Post 108 in a cooperative effort with this office and Archuleta County.

We can also provide vehicles and volunteer drivers for those veterans who may not have adequate transportation or are in need of driving assistance. Vehicles are also purchased by VTF grant money.

The grant money comes from the Colorado Tobacco Settlement money the state receives each year. A portion of the settlement money is set aside and earmarked for Colorado veterans. This is not taxpayer money.

Further information

For information on these and other veterans’ benefits, please call or stop by the Archuleta County Veterans Service Office located at the Senior Center in the Ross Aragon Community Center on Hot Springs Boulevard The office number is 264-4013, the fax number is 264-4014, cell number is 970 946-6648, and e-mail is afautheree@archuletacounty.org. The office is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Bring your DD Form 214 (Discharge) for application for VA programs, and for filing in the VSO office

Durango VA Clinic

The Durango VA Outpatient Clinic is located at 1970 E. 3rd Ave. Durango, in the old Mercy Medical Center building. Phone number is 247-2214.

DAV vans

The Disabled American Veterans (DAV) organization is running a VAHC van from Durango on Tuesdays and Thursdays — call (505) 239-2769 — and from the Farmington area on Mondays and Wednesdays — call (505) 793-2915 or (505) 325-4775.

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