MOORE, Okla., May 31, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- DAV (Disabled American Veterans) Department of Oklahoma is still expanding disaster relief efforts in towns devastated more than a week ago by deadly tornadoes.
Working out of two command centers in Moore and two others in Shawnee, more than two-dozen staff members and nearly 200 volunteers are helping veterans and their families affected by the May 19 and May 20 storms.
DAV's main command center is now in the parking lot of a Walmart in Moore. DAV staff are also located at the Multi-Agency Resource Centers (MARC) in Moore and Shawnee.
Providing monetary assistance, supplies, transportation, labor and counseling, DAV has aided more than 300 veterans and their families. More are still in need of help, and DAV estimates it will continue its operations for at least two more weeks.
DAV has been on the scene since the day the first tornado hit. The non-profit issued a call last week for volunteer help, and the response was overwhelming. Volunteers have driven in from as far away as Calif., Md, Ind., Kansas and Texas. Donated supplies also came in from across the nation, including Pa. and N.Y.
"It's been amazing to see the outpour of support from fellow Americans," said Danny Oliver, Oklahoma DAV Department Adjutant. "The tornadoes have devastated our communities and hundreds of veterans and their families. Together, we are working diligently to provide much needed relief to our fellow Oklahomans."
Vietnam veteran Harry Patterson, owner of Patterson Auto Group in Wichita, Texas, has sent loaner vehicles from his dealerships to be used free of charge by veterans in the storm-ravaged area. DAV helped in identifying veterans in need.
DAV Auxiliary Juniors, which are children of veterans, have come from across the Sooner State, organizing themselves through social media and text messaging, to help clear debris and distribute supplies.
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki has ordered the deployment of a VA mobile center with grief counselors. The VA is set to co-locate with DAV in Moore. The counselors are expected to be in place starting Saturday and remain for about two weeks.
Neighbors-Helping-Neighbors, a non-profit organization, has pledged its assistance to specifically help veterans, identified by DAV, in need of demolition and restoration work.
Volunteers are delivering supplies, including special comfort kits of health and hygiene necessities, to veterans in need. They are also offering free transportation from the veterans' homes and shelters to the MARC locations for hot meals and showers.
DAV vans have transported hundreds of veterans to and from the VA medical center in Oklahoma City for medical care and to obtain needed medications. Plans are now being made to transport veterans to the VA's counseling center as soon as it opens. For the latest news on Oklahoma relief efforts, visit http://okdav.org/category/news/
DAV empowers veterans to lead high-quality lives with respect and dignity. It is dedicated to a single purpose: fulfilling our promises to the men and women who served. DAV does this by ensuring that veterans and their families can access the full range of benefits available to them; fighting for the interests of America's injured heroes on Capitol Hill; and educating the public about the great sacrifices and needs of veterans transitioning back to civilian life. DAV, a non-profit organization with 1.2 million members, was founded in 1920 and chartered by the U. S. Congress in 1932. Learn more at www.dav.org.