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DAV chapter enjoying new 'home'

August 27, 2012

A new home, but the same important mission.
Since June, the local chapter of the Disabled American Veterans — Chapter 47 — has been meeting in a new building. The facility, once the Haven House, is located at 2204 Runnels.
“I was approached in February and asked if I knew of a use for the building that could benefit veterans,” Mike Tarpley, Chapter 47 DAV senior vice commander, said. “I told them I had an idea.”
The previous meeting location, 610 Abrams, was at the point of falling apart. Tarpley joked, “if the termites ever quit holding hands the building would fall over.
“It took some time to get the paperwork filled out and some construction work had to be done, but after a couple of months we were able to move in and start utilizing our new facility,” he said.
The house was built by Lona Hood for her parents and was later used by the VA Medical Center, as the Haven House,for families visiting veterans in the VA. Eventually, the house was too small to fulfill the requirements of the VA and Dyess Air Force Base came in and built additional rooms at the VA.
“Eventually the VA didn't have any more patients and we were approached with the possibility of the facility,” Tarpley said. “We are very grateful to have the opportunity to use this building.”
Meetings of the DAV — chartered in July 1950 — take place the third Monday of the month at 6:30 p.m. Ed Meiser is the commander, Tarpley serves as senior vice commander, John Pilgrim serves as junior vice commander and David Leonard is the chaplain.
“Our vision is aimed at helping disabled veterans,” Meiser said.
There are various means to support the vision of the DAV, whether it be through donations or volunteer time. There are several volunteer options through the VA, including van drivers and the Local Veterans Assistance Program (LVAP).
“We have six drivers with four full-time, paid drivers through the VA, but we are always looking for more,” George Williams, van driver volunteer coordinator, said.
Volunteers can work flexible hours and will be responsible for getting veterans to and from doctor appointments. The area includes Midland, Odessa, San Angelo and west to Fort Stockton and Hobbs, N.M., and other surrounding areas.
To volunteer as a van driver or to find out more information about the program, call Williams at 432-264-4825.
According to information provided during the most recent DAV meeting, there are 10,000 drivers throughout the country and more than 9,000 other volunteers.
“We are losing drivers due to the increased physical requirements,” Meiser said. “However, it is being looked into finding more ways to improve the process to allow more volunteers.”
In addition to the incorporation of the new facility, an open house is planned for the early part of October. More details will be released at a later date, according to Meiser and Tarpley.
To donate to the DAV or become a member, contact Meiser at 432-263-5163 or Tarpley at 432-556-2227.

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