Keystone Paralyzed Vets wins contest, gets van to transport members
By Tawnya Panizzi
Published: Wednesday, April 17, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
A new set of wheels will help transport local paralyzed veterans to key medical appointments at the VA Pittsburgh Health Care System.
The Keystone Paralyzed Vets, headquartered along Main Street in Sharpsburg, showed off its new Toyota Sienna Mobility van on Friday. The organization won the van in a February contest.
“We don't anticipate an overload but there are gaps to be plugged,” said Joe Dornbrock, Keystone Paralyzed Vets executive director, adding that his group previously had no way to accommodate all of its members' transportation needs.
“Some of our veterans don't qualify for transportation. The VA finds ways to get them there but this will provide some relief.”
Volunteers are needed to help drive the van a couple hours a week. The organization will provide training to operate the van's speciality features, adapted by Keystone Coach Works. The vehicle is equipped with a power ramp, a movable front seat and other wheelchair-friendly accessories.
Dornbrock said there is a push to make sure the local veterans are getting the benefit of their annual spinal cord exams. He is working with the spinal cord injury clinic at the O'Hara Heinz Division of the VAPHS to identify paralyzed vets who lack transportation for basic medical care.
They are also surveying Keystone chapter members in Allegheny County to assess transport needs, he said.
Nearly half of the Department of Veterans Affairs budget is funneled to medical care, Dornbrock said.
“But they can't do everything,” he said.
The vehicle was won through Toyota's 100 Cars for Good program, which encourages the public to vote on how corporate funds will be awarded. Mark Podrosky, general manager of the Pittsburgh Toyota dealership that distributed the van, said he couldn't think of a better group to get the van.
“The veterans have protected us and need this mobility,” he said.
Dornbrock said the van will be used most often to transport about 75 vets to doctor visits but will go a long way in helping with other services provided by his office, which supports about 300 paralyzed vets and monitors treatment conditions in five VA medical centers across the state.
Most recently, Dornbrock and his staff used the van to deliver Easter bags to 500 hospitalized patients.
“Most regular cars couldn't have accommodated that,” he said.
Anyone interested in volunteering to drive the van can call Dornbrock at 412-781-2474.
Tawnya Panizzi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-782-2121, ext. 2 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Program at Cooper-Siegel Community Library to cover story of The Beatles
- Study calls for new signs in Aspinwall
- New Fox Chapel Area superintendent set to start in March
- Not all support free night parking at Aspinwall municipal lot
- Sharpsburg parish youth group to throw Christmas party
- I Made It! Market at community center in O’Hara to feature crafts made by local artists
- Fox Chapel Area students compete in book battle