By Lisa Morton
The Highly Rural Transportation Grant Program (HRTG) and Alpine VFW Post 7207 are promoting a service for free medical transportation for veterans in Far West Texas. HRTG will provide no-cost, shared-ride, door-to-door transportation between your home and VA Medical Centers in Big Spring, El Paso, Ft. Stockton and other locations providing VA directed medical care for veterans. The service is for veterans in Borden, Brewster, Crane, Culberson, Glasscock, Hudspeth, Jeff Davis, Martin, Loving, Pecos, Presidio, Reeves and Terrell counties. This is a project of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
To qualify, veterans must have a DD-214 and government issued ID or other proof of residency and be pre-registered with Big Bend Community Action (BBCAC) or West Texas Opportunities (WTO). A brief HRTG application form can be completed and faced to BBCAC or WTO along with copies of your DD-214 and ID. County Veteran Service officers or other officials can assist with eligibility documentation.
To schedule a trip, pre-registered veterans should call the appropriate transportation provider for your area before scheduling a medical appointment to ensure that transportation will be available the day you want to travel and to secure the most convenient time to travel. Once you have scheduled your medical appointment, you should call the transportation provider back at least two days in advance to schedule your trip. You must also call the transportation provider between 3:30 and 4:30 the day before the scheduled trip t confirm your reservation and pick-up time.
A TRAX bus will arrive at the scheduled time and location you requested to pick you up and transport you to your medical destination. The same or another TRAX vehicle will pick you up at your medical appointment to return you home. You will be given a phone number to communicate with TRAX if your appointment is finishing early or running late. There is also non-emergency stretcher transportation in an ambulance that may be available with advance notice. If your county has a County Veterans Officer, they can be contacted for assistance and information. For more information and to schedule a ride, contact Big Bend Community Action at 1-855-879-8729, West Texas Opportunities at 1-800-245-9028, or VFW Post 7207 in Alpine at 1-432-837-2859.