VA Summer of Service: Tampa tram volunteers make getting around easier



When a patient visits the James A. Haley VA Medical Center in Tampa, Florida their first experience is often the face of a VA volunteer.

The size of the medical facility’s campus and the sporadic Florida weather necessitates the fleet of trams, or six passenger golf carts, to move Veterans around the grounds.

Veterans Dick Arens and Dan Biser volunteer at the Tampa VAMC

Veterans Dick Arens and Dan Biser volunteer at the Tampa VAMC

Volunteers like Dan Biser and Dick Arens, both Veterans, will happily take you to your appointment.

When a Veteran calls out to Dan asking for a ride, Dan joked “Sure you can! I need the money!”

But the Marine Corps Veteran says he gets paid in a different way. “When you give of yourself, you get something back that money cannot buy.”

Dick Arens spent 22 years in the U.S. Air Force from 1958-1979. He flew F-4s, B-47s and B-58s and still gets in to a cockpit from time to time.

He has been volunteering at the Tampa VA for the past 5 years, transporting thousands of patients around the hospital.

Even after being diagnosed and undergoing treatment for cancer, Dick still finds time to volunteer, although lately he has been volunteering as a greeter at the main lobby.

MOAA's Operation Helping Hands donated trams to the Tampa VA

MOAA’s Operation Helping Hands donated trams to the Tampa VA

“We just help people out as much as we can and I enjoy doing it. I get to meet a lot of people, talk to people,” he said.

Dan and Dick are just two of the more than 1,300 volunteers at the Tampa VA. Volunteers and community sponsors like Military Officers Association of America who donated some of the trams are making a difference in the lives of Veterans everyday.

You can be the difference. VA needs more volunteers. Learn more at: http://www.va.gov/vasummerofservice/.

To learn more about volunteering at the Tampa VA, visit: http://www.tampa.va.gov/giving.


VA takes its commitment to care for the nation’s Veterans and their families very seriously, and this summer, we invite all of you to join in that commitment. Community by community, state by state, our nation can work together to serve Veterans during the VA Summer of Service.

  • Look for VA at community events and engage our employees and partners.
  • Reach out to your local medical facility or National Cemetery to find out what you can do to help.
  • Check out #VASummerOfService on Vantage Point, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and join VA in caring for America’s Veterans.

Author

Tim Hudak

  joined the VA in December 2013 and is on the Veterans Experience Office team. Tim, a Chicago-land native enlisted in the Marine Corps straight out of high school. As an intelligence analyst he deployed to Al Anbar province, Iraq with Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 363 in 2006 and 2008. After the Marine Corps, Tim used the GI Bill to earn a degree in Intelligence Studies from Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pa., and co-founded the university’s first student Veteran organization. Tim is active in many Veteran organizations.