Central Virginia veterans kicked off the Memorial Day weekend in style by celebrating the arrival of a sharp new set of wheels. American Legion Post 16 in Lynchburg is now the proud owner of a custom-built, wheelchair accessible shuttle coach. Under bright sunshine and in adherence with proper social distance practices, a small group of veterans were in attendance Friday to accept delivery of the vehicle. The bus will primarily be used to transport the Post 16 honor guard to perform military rites at veterans’ funerals and memorial services across the region.
“In the past, we have utilized a passenger van for our honor guard,” said Otto Davis, Post 16 Commander. “This new bus will not only provide more comfortable and safer transportation than the van, but she’s a real beauty and will garner our organization tremendous exposure in the community.” The bus is colorfully branded with the American Legion seal and several United States flags.
In addition to transporting the honor guard, the bus will also be used to provide transportation for local veterans to the Veterans Administration hospital in Salem and for other outings, such as visits to the D-Day Memorial, local attractions, and patriotic gatherings.
The bus was funded totally by private gifts from Post 16 members, local citizens, and many area businesses who support veteran organizations and causes. Post 16 worked closely with local bus dealer, Sonny Merryman to design and equip the bus to meet the organization’s specific needs. Wheelchair accessibility is a big plus for the American Legion. “Now we can offer transportation services to our entire membership regardless of mobility limitations,” adds Commander Davis.
Throughout the year the Post 16 honor guard typically participates in dozens of funerals and other ceremonial events. Although the honor guard is currently sidelined due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, members of the Post 16 team anxiously look forward to getting back out soon to pay proper respects to veterans’ families whose loved ones have passed away. “The men and women of the US military have honorably served our nation and deserve a dignified farewell observance in recognition of their noble service,” says Mike Gogan, Post Sargent at Arms. “It is a privilege and honor to provide a military tribute for our fellow comrades in arms for their final committal service.”