During Veterans Day week in Chicago, a new transportation service for our military veterans is being launched. It combines the best of both the private and public sector to offer the potential for the nation’s first scalable veterans serving veterans initiative that could transform the lives of many veterans.
Air Force Brigadier General John E. Michel (Ret.) is helping to launch Patriot Express for those who have unselfishly served our country and provided freedom to millions of people in the United States and all over the world. Patriot Express will help provide not only transportation to veterans who cannot otherwise get to medical care, but will provide jobs to veterans in need of employment.
The initiative is sponsored by MV Transportation, Inc., the largest private provider of paratransit services and the largest privately-owned passenger transportation contracting firm in the U.S. In the words of MV, Patriot Express creates “a virtuous circle of opportunity, dignity, honor and respect” that can help transform the lives of veterans in need.
The revolutionary plan was created by General Michel, who joined MV as its Chief Strategy & Innovation Officer earlier this year. “Patriot Express is part of MV’s overall strategic vision to create job opportunities for 2,000 military veterans in the next 3 years,” Michel said.
Brig. Gen. Michel has served in some of our nation’s most important roles, such as the Commanding General, NATO Air Training Command-Afghanistan; NATO Training Mission/Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan; and Commander, 438th Air Expeditionary Wing, Kabul, Afghanistan.
In an exclusive interview with Breitbart News, Gen. Michel pointed out that 3.4 million veterans have a service-connected disability that requires regular medical attention. Additionally, there are more than half a million unemployed veterans nationwide.
“MV Transportation has been providing the freedom of mobility and access to medical appointments for people with disabilities and the transit dependent for 40 years,” the General said, “MV’s Patriot Express expands our mission and exclusively focuses on providing this same access to our veterans and to those veterans interested in getting them to critical medical care.”
“Patriot Express expands our mission and exclusively focuses on providing this same access to our veterans and to those veterans interested in getting them to critical medical care,” Michael added.
Extremely passionate about the initiative, Michel likens the new service to Uber in that veterans can use a smartphone app to plan the transportation services they need to get back and forth to medical appointments, but also, just like Uber, to become drivers themselves and build a new life. “It is literally vets serving vets aided by transformative technology,” the general said.
MV is also creating kiosks that link to the service that can be placed in medical offices and at Veterans Affairs offices and hospitals.
General Michel is also happy to note that, in addition to the existing pool of veteran drivers the service will start with, “MV is committed to hiring as many drivers as possible from the national pool of 500,000 unemployed and underemployed veterans, who will be rigorously pre-screened, using the Department of Veteran Affairs privacy and security standards.”
The Patriot Express service officially commences on the day after Veterans Day, with service to Chicago’s Edward Hines, Jr., VA Hospital providing transportation to eligible veterans with scheduled medical appointments at the VA or VA-authorized facilities.
Also this week, MV will introduce its first official Patriot Express driver, Warren Byrd, who proudly served in the U.S. Air Force.
“We are extremely excited about the unlimited possibilities of Patriot Express,” General Michel said, “and what this service will do to empower, encourage and uplift our service heroes.”
The general was also excited that, as another service to the area veterans, MV was hosting a group of disabled veterans for a luncheon at a Chicago area Olive Garden restaurant on Veterans Day.
But one of the aspects about the whole program that enthused Michel most was the fact that this was an initiative sponsored by a private company, in conjunction with local small businesses, all working hand-in-hand with the VA to serve our veterans in a public/private partnership.
“We are actually working in partnership with veteran-owned small businesses that can help contribute to this mission,” Michel said. “So with this initiative we can compliment, not compete with these local businesses and allows us to build on the strength of the small businesses that can help deliver to the veterans in need.”
“Our military vets deserve access to quality healthcare services, and meaningful and satisfying employment opportunities. That’s the primary goal of Patriot Express,” Michel added.