Canandaigua VA Medical Center
Scooter Breaks Down VA Is There
Vietnam Veteran’s Scooter Breaks Down, VA Is There
On March 29th, Rob Yannotti, Canandaigua VA Medical Center Transportation & Grounds Supervisor, which includes the Veterans Transportation System (VTS), had completed his day, signed out and left work to run errands on his journey home. By chance, Rob stopped to visit his mother who lives a mile and a half from the VAMC. Soon after his arrival at about 5:00 p.m., there was a knock on the door.
Jerimiah, a disabled Vietnam Veteran stood at the door with his cane. His electric scooter was broken down in the road directly in front of the house. Jerimiah was on his return journey home from his VA appointment and there was quite a long distance left for Jerimiah to arrive home.
Usually on a nice sunny day in the beautiful Finger Lakes region, his journey home would have been an enjoyable one. Here in Canandaigua, New York, the trip home for him passes through a historic neighborhood, Sonnenburg Gardens- New York State Grange Museum, and Main Street, where one can see a spectacular view of Canandaigua Lake and well-known businesses such as the Canandaigua Winery and the Daily Messenger. But on this day it was very cold and windy outside. With the colder temperatures it is not a trip that many would venture to make in an electric scooter. Jerimiah shared that he liked to be independent, did not reach out for assistance and would on a regular basis make the trip, even during this time of year.
Rob’s mother Glennis Habecker welcomed Jeremiah to come inside and wait, while Rob pushed the scooter into the garage and plugged it in. The Veteran did not want to be a bother and chose to wait outside shivering. Like any caring mom, Glennis brought Jerimiah a warm blanket to wrap up in and they passed the time with a conversation about the civil war hat and bayonet Jerimiah had proudly just acquired that day.
Rob jumped into action. He made a phone call and examined the scooter to see if he could fix it for the Veteran.
Rob called on one of his Motor Vehicle Operators, Shawn “Mike” Morris, who had just returned back to the VAMC from a scheduled patient trip. As a VA employee and a U.S. Marine Corps Veteran, Mike agreed to stay late and do whatever it would take to get the Veteran and his scooter home safely. The Marine Corps motto, “Semper Fi” and his belief that a comrade should never be left behind are the foundation of Mike’s core values, and the service he provides on a daily basis for our Veterans. Through the VTS program, Rob and Mike were able to successfully meet the needs of one of our aging disabled Veterans.
Jerimiah was very grateful and said, “What great luck to break down directly in front of a house where the Transportation Supervisor happened to be visiting.”
If he had been two minutes either way, Jerimiah would have been stranded without help and stated, “It was an act of God.”
Mike prepared and drove the wheel chair lift shuttle bus to where the Veteran had broken down in front of the house. The Veteran was provided the transportation he needed and arrived home safely with his scooter.
Rob’s and Mike’s knowledge about the door to door service provided by the VTS program was instrumental in the success of Jerimiah’s trip home. Jerimiah said he was “grateful” and truly “blown away with their willingness to help him out.”
This is one of the capabilities of the VTS program and it does not have to be a cold winter, spring, fall or scorching hot summer day to use the program.
The Veterans Transportation System (VTS) supplements existing transportation available to Veterans to and from medical appointments at no cost to Veterans.
· You must be a Veteran
· Enrolled in VA Healthcare
· Reservations must be made one day in advance
· A Veteran may be accompanied by one caregiver, spouse or family member
Daily morning and afternoon runs are available between the Canandaigua VA Medical Center to the Rochester VA Outpatient Clinic and continue on to the Batavia VA Medical Center.
Services are also available from the Batavia VA Medical Center to the Buffalo VA Medical Center.
Visit here to see the current available VTS schedule. Depending on appointment times and destination, Veterans may complete part of their transportation with the VTS, and another part with the regular shuttle schedule.
To schedule a ride for an appointment or for more information, please contact the Veterans Service Center at Canandaigua: (585) 393 – 7320.