Tuesday, Nov. 3 marks Election Day in the United States, and this year, instead of having to worry about a ride to the polls, Greene County citizens can depend on veterans to help them out.
Veterans from Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3404, located at 1136 E. Atlantic St., are volunteering to help voters who can’t find a ride get to polling places to vote.
Post commander and former Navy Borderman 3 class Al Wagner said the VFW Post has nine volunteers ready to transport voters. Requirements for using the transport service include having a valid ID, voting card, face mask and for the passenger to know their polling location.
“We are here to promote getting people out to vote,” Wagner said. “We will share no political opinions when picking passengers up to go to the polls.”
Wagner encouraged the transporters to not wear any type of political clothing but instead an identifier of VFW Post 3404, be it a hat, pin or shirt.
Wagner said after each passenger is delivered to the polls, the vehicle will be disinfected by the driver with sanitizer wipes. A limited number of face masks will also be provided to passengers who require one.
Post Adjunct and current Air Force sergeant Brian Fisher said the service will start at 7 a.m. and continue until the polls close at 7 p.m..
To register for a ride on Tuesday, voters must call the VFW Post at 417-865-6929. Wagner said the post has already received two calls in advance from the Women’s League of Voters.
Don Nix, post senior vice commander and former Army sergeant, will be manning the phones, signing voters up for the service and coordinating where each transport is at a given time.
“We want to make everybody happy and we’re ambitious to help,” Nix said. “Instead of fighting the traffic yourself, let us fight the traffic for you. And, we are always here to help vets as well.”
The transport service is a part of a VFW Post special project, coordinated by District 14 Commander and retired Marine Philip Rippee. The service will be submitted to the State of Missouri and then to the national level as a show of community service.
The National VFW association was founded in the early 1900s by veterans who fought in foreign wars and wanted to guarantee rights for fellow veterans. These have included fighting for establishing the GI Bill, national cemeteries and helping win reimbursement for veterans affected by Agent Orange in Vietnam and by the Gulf War Syndrome. In Missouri there are 18 VFW Districts. Springfield’s VFW Post 3404 lands within the 14th District.