VIA CARES CURRENT PROGRAMS
VIA Operators deliver meals to the American GI Forum – National Veterans Outreach Program
VIA operator and former U.S. Marine, Michele Glenn helps load 160 food plates on VIA bus for delivery to veterans at the American GI Forum – National Veterans Outreach Program on July 3, 2020.
The Fourth of July weekend was a fitting backdrop for a group of VIA operators to deliver 160 plates of food to the veterans at the American GI Forum – National Veterans Outreach Program, as part of the VIA Cares initiative.
VIA Cares organizes and collaborates with available resources to help meet community needs and builds on partnerships that match VIA volunteers with opportunities to serve.
For the VIA operators, the event had an impactful purpose because all of them also are U.S. veterans. Michele Glenn, an operator for 14 years, served eight years in the U.S. Marines; Jeff Wishert, an operator for 17 years, served four years in the U.S. Navy; Miguel Amador, a VIA operator for 14 years, served in the U.S. Army for five years; and David Silva, an operator for 27 years, served in the U.S Army two years.
“It means a lot to give back to these guys that put their country first when they were called to duty,” Glenn said. “There is a sense of pride to be part of a group of veterans that are still looking out for other veterans who might not be as fortunate.”
Friday’s lunch was a partnership with the Neighborhood Faith Convening Group, which is an organization of six faith-based organizations that help support veterans, children, families, and schools in the SAISD. All the food was prepared by Acadiana Café.
“Three times a year we provide meals for veterans at the Veteran’s Center downtown,” Christ Episcopal Church Rev. Justin Lindstrom said. “We’re really excited for VIA to be a part of this, picking up the food and delivering it. We’re thankful for VIA and that great partnership we have, and we’re thankful for our veterans.”
Silva said he developed a deep respect for fellow veterans because he lost friends to war.
“I served during the Vietnam war, but fortunately I didn’t have to go there,” Silva said. “We were in the service during a time when we were drafted; most of my friends from the old neighborhood, none of them came back. So, we celebrate the freedoms we have by honoring our veterans who did make it back.”.