By Jasmine Willis
DANSVILLE — The local company has a brand-new Warrior Truck. This comes with a significant image of patriotism.
The new image shows a veteran walking away with the American Flag draped over his shoulder.
Valley Fuel Propane and Fuels General Manager, Bill LaVallee has carried on the legacy of honoring local veterans over the years. The Warrior Truck takes a percentage of the fuel over the year to give to veterans. On July 14 the local company gave money to Dansville VFW, Wayland American Legion, and The CDS Wolf Foundation.
“We needed to get a new truck since the other one was getting old. We used Graphic Images out of Henrietta. They did an amazing job for us. We love the new image,” LaVallee said. “We still use the old truck in parades and events. We will continue this theme of donating to veterans.”
The CDS Wolf Foundation Executive Director, Tom DeRoller talked about the importance of the Warrior Salute Veterans Services with a supportive housing system for veterans. This home is called Nucor House. It services up to 14 veterans across the country who are in need. This organization handles transitioning veterans back into civilian life. Many of these veterans suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, sexual trauma, combat injuries, or are homeless. The home is designed to allow these veterans to rebuild themselves after trauma and gives them a safe space.
DeRoller said this is their own home to tend to until they graduate from the program. These veterans have an opportunity to get education and work.
“We take veterans from Korean War to current conflicts. We have some Vietnam War Veterans and Afghanistan at the home. We provide them some medical care, access to education, and employment opportunities. We give them some community involvement, wellness, and fitness care. It helps lift all of their spirits. We have been doing this for about 10 years,” he said.
DeRoller said the organization is very grateful to get the check from Valley Fuel to help keep this program going.
“We welcome any veteran to this program from across the country. We have a long waiting list. Right now we have 10 veterans in the home to make it more comfortable,” he said. “We work to get them back to civilian life at no cost to the veterans. We rely on sponsorships and individual donations.”
DeRoller said it is rewarding to help these veterans get back to their lives. It is a huge honor to work with those who support our veterans. Some of these veterans have gone on to crate their own successful businesses. Some of them are public speakers and authors. The need depends on the veteran. At times they remain in the home for six months to a year.
Dansville VFW Post Commander, David Neu has been part of the organization since 1990. He has been the commander for 15 years. He served from 1968-72 in the Vietnam War.
“We use the funds from the bell jar to keep us going. Donations like this are always needed. We use all of the donations to keep the post running. We had 346 members in the 90s and now we are down to 146. Things are not like they used to be,” he said. “We have been getting the younger ones now from Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts. We can only take veterans who served in overseas conflicts.”
Neu said the organization could always use more volunteers.
Wayland American Legion Post Commander, Kevin Mark said the money is always appreciated every year. They use the funds for the Wayland Veterans Aid Fund. This offers local veterans help on various needs.
Mark served in Germany from 1987-90. He was there when the Berlin Wall came down.
“I was there before and after the Berlin Wall came down. I have photos of the wall and when they were tearing it down,” he said.
Mark said the members and volunteer issues are hard with his legion as well. Many of the volunteers have passed on. He said it is hard to replace them.
“We will get the right people to come through to keep this thing going. I hope they will continue to keep this legacy alive,” he said.
Mark added that the funds from Valley Fuel go to help with veterans’ programs. The legion is known for holding many activities throughout the year. If there are veterans or veteran’s families in need they often go to the legion. There have been strong needs in the community with deaths, fires, and other tragedies.
“I always make sure to donate to the Wayland American Legion every year. I am impressed with how dedicated Kevin Mark is to the community. I am amazed with how active they are,” LaVallee said. “I will keep this legacy going as long as we can. It is a worthy cause.”
All of the funds stay local amongst the veteran’s organizations. He contacts the Livingston County Veterans Services to see where the need is every year.
LaVallee is pleased every year with the amount of affection and support the Warrior Truck gets in the community. He has veterans working at the company as well. He offered opportunities to those in the transitional home.
“They have had to transition back to society after a lot of trauma. Everyone is getting involved with helping them in this process. We have had veterans working with us. We are honored to be able to help them. It makes us proud to be associated with benefiting our local veterans,” he said.
Wayland American Legion will provide a new flagpole for Valley Fuel.
To learn more about Warrior Salute Veteran Services visit https://cdslifetransitions.org/warrior-salute/services/#transitional-housing To learn more about Valley Fuel visit https://www.valley-fuels.com To keep updated with Wayland American Legion visit https://www.facebook.com/legionpost402/ Contact the Dansville VFW located at 145 Main Street at 585-335-8277.