Veterans and volunteers gathered May 24 at Hamilton Creek Park in Burnet as US Senator John Cornyn made a stop to celebrate VetRide, a free transportation service for veterans and their families in Burnet, Lampasas, and Llano counties. Pictured next to Cornyn is VetRide program manager Sophie McCoy. Staff photo by Daniel Clifton
EDITOR DANIEL CLIFTON
An hour of US Senator John Cornyn’s time meant the world to VetRide program director Sophie McCoy.
The senator was in the Highland Lakes on May 24 for the dedication of the new RM 2900 bridge in Kingsland, but he made his way to Hamilton Park in Burnet to recognize the free transportation service that takes veterans to medical and similar appointments.
“The fact the senator took the time to stop here and recognize the program and the volunteers who make it successful, well, that means a lot,” McCoy said. “This matters.”
Cornyn presented a certificate to McCoy honoring the program before heading to the bridge dedication, but it wasn’t just a quick handoff and photo op.
The senator accompanied McCoy and a volunteer VetRide driver to pick up local World War II veteran Richard Sanders, 94, and bring him to the program event at the park. Cornyn spent time speaking with and listening to local veterans, VetRide volunteers, and residents during his Burnet stop.
“My dad served thirty-one years in the Air Force, so this is personal to me,” the senator said. “I think it’s important to the veterans they have a program like this that gets them to appointments. And when we find one like this in a community like Burnet, it’s important we hold it up and recognize what it does for the veterans and their families.”
The program began in 2010, the idea of the late Burnet County Veterans Service Officer Chuck Caraway. It serves Burnet, Llano, and Lampasas counties and is funded through the Texas Veterans Commission as well as supported by the three counties and community donations.
At the heart of the program, McCoy said, are volunteer drivers such as Lori and Mike Greco.
The couple began driving for VetRide in 2011, not long after Caraway got the program up and running. Both Mike and Lori retired from the Army.
“We both believe in serving, and this is one way we still do that,” Mike Greco said.
The program takes veterans to VA clinics and other medical facilities across Central Texas.
While driving the veterans to their appointments is the main purpose of VetRide, Greco said he loves building relationships with those veterans and hearing their stories.
“I feel like I’m the one who is blessed,” he said.
Call (830) 613-9982 for more information on VetRide or to learn how to become a volunteer driver.