Drive for Veterans gets Texas welcome

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David Minton/DRC
The electric vehicles used by a cross-country Drive for Veterans group that is raising money for two veteran support groups sit outside of the Texas Roadhouse restaurant on Interstate 35E in Denton on Wednesday. The group stopped in Denton on the way from California to Florida.

A Wisconsin-based group that is riding across the country to raise awareness and money for injured veterans and their families got a Texas welcome Wednesday in Denton.

Their vehicle of choice? A low-speed, electric vehicle known as a Columbia ParCar Eagle.

“Most people think they are golf carts but they are not,” said Del Smith, project manager with Drive for Veterans.

Dan Washburn, president of the Vietnam Veterans Chapter 920 in Denton County, said he invited the group to make a stop in Denton to show them a bit of Texas hospitality and to spread the word about the two nonprofits supported by the drive, the Fisher House Foundation and the Semper Fi Fund.

“The Fisher House is to military hospitals and veterans hospitals what the Ronald McDonald House is to children’s hospitals,” Washburn said. “They provide a lot of housing within close distance of the military hospital for families to be there with their wounded warriors. And Semper Fi fills the gaps on a lot of the needs of all veterans, regardless of branch.”

The 11 participants in the Drive for Veterans trailered their vehicles to San Diego, where they began the trek that will take them to Savannah, Ga., and down the coast of Florida.

“We make stops like this visiting with people, talking to people,” Smith said. “Many people don’t understand all the things they [veterans] go through from recovery to independence and trying to build a life of their own. We want to raise money to help them.”

All proceeds are going to the Fisher House Foundation and the Semper Fi Fund, organizations that helped many veterans during the recent government shutdown.

The local veterans provided hotel rooms for the group to spend the night in Denton, and Texas Roadhouse contributed a meal for the group.

For more information about the Drive for Veterans, visit www.driveforveterans.com .


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