ABC7 Salutes veteran for providing comfortable ride for vets in need

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One veteran decided he'd start his own transportation service to put vets first, and treat them with care. (KABC)

Many veterans who need to get to the doctor's office have no transportation of their own, and some of the options available to them are expensive, unreliable or don't offer wheelchair access. That's why Craig Curtis decided he'd start his own transportation service and put veterans first and treat them with care.

Curtis, who's a Navy veteran and also worked at the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, found he was filling a real need.

Instead of retiring, he and his business partner started A & C Transportation Services, which offers a comfortable, caring ride to the doctor's office, dialysis, chemotherapy, or wherever clients need to go.

Since Curtis and most of his drivers are also veterans, there's an instant comfort and connection.

Curtis said," We can share experiences that we normally cannot share with the average population. So, it's like a close camaraderie; it's like a brotherhood."

But it's not just a one-way street. Curtis said he gets a lot back, too.

"Truthfully, it helps all of us because I have my own demons from the military. I have PTSD and I don't mind sharing that. We can share our stories, and it makes them relax, and it really helps us also," said Curtis.

Client Frank Eldridge, a Vietnam veteran, echoes that feeling.

"It's a camaraderie-type thing", Eldridge said. "Just that you can relate to them, as far as talking about the Vietnam War and stuff like that."

Both Curtis and his business partner placed a big priority on having state-of-the-art vans; ones with easy-motorized wheelchair access and all the comforts inside.

But doing that wasn't inexpensive.

For Curtis, it's a matter of treating his fellow Veterans right. He said they've sacrificed so much, they deserve the respect.

"And when I see the smile on their faces, I tell my wife, 'We're going to keep on going, I don't care what the cost is. We're going to make them happy,' and they make me happy," Curtis said.

Despite the physical and emotional challenges many veterans face, like diabetes, amputations, PTSD and the effects of Agent Orange, Curtis said, still, many of his clients remain positive.

"They don't look back," he said. "They're not sour at life, they love life, and we're here to make it just a little bit better for them."

He said having that connection and sharing a common experience with another veteran isn't something you can learn in any classroom.

Curtis said," I enjoy the company of these guys and so do my drivers. When you tell a story, before you know it, the ride's over."
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societyABC7 SalutesveteransveterantransportationRedlandsSan Bernardino County
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