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To the Editor:
I have enjoyed transporting fellow veterans to the Brecksville and Wade Park Veterans Administration medical centers and the Canton VA clinic in the Carroll County Veterans Service Commission van. I’ve made many new friends, and have felt honored to be able assist fellow veterans suffering from various maladies, some minor and some very serious. Since June 2004, when I was asked by two Veterans Service Commission members to take the van driver position, I’ve driven over 151,000 miles on the dangerous highways to Cleveland, at least four hours driving time each trip, mostly during rush hour. Thanking our Lord, I have been fortunate in not having any kind of accident or citation in that time, and I pray that may continue.

On Saturday, July 10th, I mailed to my supervisor, Shari Howells, my written resignation effective August 1, 2010. My reasons are personal at present. I provided three (3) weeks notice in order that our veterans could continue to receive transportation to their medical appointments, as well as provide the office with time to find a replacement driver.

However, when I returned home from the Post Office that same morning, I found in my mail a simple two sentence letter from Shari Howells indicating “This is to inform you that as of July 10, 2010, your employment as a part time van driver has been terminated. Thank you for your service.” 

I tell my fellow veterans I did not abandon you. We shared a lot of long days at the hospitals and in the van. I did my best to properly represent the Veterans Service Commission in their mission. As my experiences grew, I answered many questions from you and assisted you whenever I could with your needs at the medical centers, and, with questions about VA benefits and services. Almost all of you were very appreciative and complimentary. For that I thank you.

As I’ve told the members of our Veterans Service Commission, verbally and in writing, I offer to be available whenever possible if an emergency situation arises and a driver is needed. There should never be a weekday when a veteran is told the van is not available for transport.
I thank you for your service to our country.


Tom Burkhart
Malvern, OH


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