Dear County and Tribal Veteran Service Officers of Wisconsin,
Last Fall, I was contacted by the widow of a Vietnam Veteran, Lonnie Grau, who passed in March 2020 from cancer as caused by his exposure to Agent Orange. As Lonnie’s ailments worsened, he eventually became wheelchair bound. In 2018 they had purchased a new 2018 Chrysler Pacifica mini-van and worked with the VA to have all necessary accommodations (totaling over $35K) made to the van so he could drive it without assistance and regain his independence.
After Lonnie’s death, Mrs. Grau (Marilyn) desired to be able to have another disabled veteran experience the sense of joy and freedom that Lonnie gained with the van and we arranged for her to donate it to the Wisconsin VFW Foundation. I promised her we would get it into the hands of a severely disabled veteran who might not otherwise be able to secure a van like this for the betterment of their life.
Due to Lonnie’s death less than 2 years after getting the van, it has less than 1300 miles on it and is in mint condition. As mentioned, it has all the bells and whistles to allow for independent use by any Veteran, whether wheelchair bound, use of prosthetics, or other physical impairments.
We opened up applications for the van after Veterans Day but due to everything going on in the world, promotion and awareness of the VFW’s gifting of this van has been difficult. All severely disabled veterans, not just VFW members, are encouraged to apply and financial need will be taken into account. Applications have trickled in, but we would very much like to get the word out to so many more severely disabled Veterans around the state. I am hoping you can help.
Attached is a one-page color flyer with details about the van and how to apply. The application deadline is Memorial Day (May 31). The selected Veteran will be awarded the keys to the van at our annual state convention on June 25th at the Tundra Lodge in Green Bay. I would be very grateful if you could share this flyer far and wide.
If you have any questions, please contact our State Adjutant David Green at 608-221-5276. Thank you for all that you do for Veterans in the Badger State!
Jason E. Johns State Commander VFW-Department of Wisconsin