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DAV needs van drivers

Dear editor:

The Hot Springs Disabled American Veterans chapter provides a daily van to take veterans to appointments at the VA hospitals in Little Rock and North Little Rock. The van leaves from the parking lot of the courthouse on Ouachita Avenue at 7:30 a.m. and goes to Little Rock and North Little Rock with occasional stops at Hot Springs Village, Benton and Bryant. After dropping off the riders at the Little Rock and North Little Rock VA hospitals, the driver waits for the riders to finish their appointments for the return trip to Hot Springs. The trip takes most of the day and drivers sign up to drive once a week or at least a few times a month. The drivers are all volunteers.

We are currently in need of additional drivers. The requirements to become a volunteer driver for the VA are:

1. Must have a current Arkansas driver's license (no special license is required).

2. Must pass an annual physical given at the VA hospitals in either LR or NLR.

3. Must take the COVID-19 vaccine, which will be available at the VA hospitals in either LR or NLR.

4. Must have a background check in order to receive a VA employee ID card.

5. Must complete a driver safety and procedures orientation given at the Volunteer Services Office in NLR.

To become a volunteer driver, please call the Volunteer Services office in NLR at 501-257-3288. They will schedule you for a physical and once that is passed then have you apply for a VA employee ID card which includes a background check. If you wish more information about the service please call the local coordinator, Irving Greenberg, at 501-538-8432.

Mike Sharp

Hot Springs

Thank you, Dr. Shelby

Dear editor:

With all the politicians painting over the killer virus among us there was a wonderful, fact-filled article in Tuesday's The Sentinel-Record quoting Garland County Health Officer Dr. Gene Shelby. His information clearly shows us the magnitude of real, present dangers we all face today, and very clearly, that danger is high in Garland County!

We do constantly see articles about how the city/county tax collections are great, better than last year; many businesses are obviously doing very well and the A&P commission received public funds to replenish their savings. We see tons of out of state cars here for tourism and many restaurants are packed at different times.

However, the powers that be meet in closed meetings where the public has no access to crucial information. What are the facts about hospital COVID capacity/capability; has any contract tracing been done; have any bars, clubs or restaurants been cited for over capacity/serving issues and are they being monitored and by who; what other hot spots are present in our county (specific businesses or gyms or churches); and basically, where/why are our infection and death rates climbing so high and so fast in Garland County? The public is entitled to all the facts so that we can judge where we are comfortable (with masks and distancing) to go or work in.

Yes, the economy is important but more important is the health and lives of all citizens.

Jim Pumphrey

Garland County

Rescue old hospital

Dear editor:

It would be a crying shame to not find a purpose for the beautiful old Army Navy Hospital. As close as it is to the center of town I would think it might become a retirement community for folks who move here for the amenities we have to offer. It's a great location, beautiful and a structurally sound building that could once again become an asset ... instead of a liability. But it requires two things; money and vision. Are we up to the task?

Herbert Rogers

Hot Springs Village

Vaccination concerns

Dear editor:

None of the doctor offices or pharmacies in Hot Springs are set up to keep the serum at 94 degrees below zero. Therefore, none of them will be providing vaccinations.

National Park Medical Center is not equipped either -- but they are maintaining their allotment at a (secret) pharmacy outside of Hot Springs and plan on giving the vaccine only to their employees.

CHI St. Vincent told me that they have only the allotment needed to give vaccinations to their medical professionals and not to the general public. They suggested that I call the Arkansas Department of Health.

The Department of Health in Little Rock is only a hotline for active cases and has no information at this time regarding the availability and location of vaccinations to the public anywhere in the state. They suggested that I call the Garland County Health Unit.

The Garland County Health Unit told me that the State of Arkansas has not given them any information or instructions regarding the giving of vaccinations to the general public. They said to call the COVID-19 Call Center for the state of Arkansas.

The COVID-19 Call Center for the state of Arkansas is a message machine only. The caller is instructed to leave a name and phone number so an employee can return the call. After two days, my call has not been returned.

There are small towns in other states in which the general population is already receiving their COVID-19 vaccinations. Hereford, Texas, (Hereford Regional Med Center) and Amarillo, Texas, (Amarillo Civic Center) are among these places.

This is yet another example of no leadership in Hot Springs, Garland County, or the state of Arkansas.

John Grillo

Hot Springs

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