During last week’s Veterans Day parade, you may have seen one van being driven by members of the SENM Veterans Transportation Network. This very special organization that deserves some additional explanation.
Earlier this year, one of the organization’s drivers, Norbert Rempe, was honored for his assistance to the community and for stepping forward when the organization needed drivers. Rempe is now one of two active Carlsbad drivers, with Armando Luna being the other. Hyrum Laird and Ernie Endes also have assisted or occasionally assist with driving. There are other drivers across Southeastern New Mexico and Magil Duran, out of the organization’s Roswell office, is the president.
Drivers with the SENM Veterans Transportation Network take community veterans to wherever they need to go for medical appointments, including the VA hospital in Albuquerque, but also to Big Spring, Lubbock, El Paso, Amarillo and Artesia.
These driver/volunteers are truly amazing people. In many instances, veterans would have no other way to get to this necessary medical care. Drivers will often leave at the crack of dawn and return well after dusk. In one year, drivers put in 147,000 miles and provided transport for 967 veterans. Their motto is “If not us, then who?”
This organization began more than a decade ago when local Vietnam Veterans in the area began taking their fellow veterans to clinics after other similar services ceased. Sympathetic state legislators secured funding for vans in 2008. The original organization was forced to shut down in 2012, but restarted again in 2013 and became a 501c-3. More than 95% of the funding the organization receives goes directly to serving veterans, while a part-time manager helps coordinate the program. A few years later, additional legislative funding allowed the organization to purchase several, larger vans that are more handicap accessible.
Other groups who support the SENM Veterans Transportation Network include local Elks Lodges, the United Way, Mosaic Potash and private donations. Drivers are unpaid, but donations go to gas and repairs. For more information, please visit https://southeast-new-mexico-veterans.business.site/ or call (575) 622-0729. Thank you again to all of the volunteers with this organization.
Carlsbad standout Trevor Rogers finished in second place in the Rookie of the Year competition, which is voted on by members of the Baseball Writers Association of America. Cincinnati Reds second baseman Jonathan India won first, while Dylan Carlson finished third.
Since 1969, only six other rookie pitchers have matched Rogers’ strikeout and innings pitched total while recording as low of an ERA, according to the Miami Herald. We wish him an excellent off-season and look forward to the upcoming season.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway