OKC Nonprofit To Host Fundraiser To Help Local Veterans - News9.com - Oklahoma City, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports |

OKC Nonprofit To Host Fundraiser To Help Local Veterans

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"Troops2Vets" is having a car wash at 89th and Western to raise money to give free rides to Oklahoma's finest and help retired veterans. "Troops2Vets" is having a car wash at 89th and Western to raise money to give free rides to Oklahoma's finest and help retired veterans.
OKLAHOMA CITY -

Some of Oklahoma's veterans are without dependable transportation and in this heat it can prove to be a very dangerous situation. Now another local veterans' group is hosting a fundraiser to keep this from happening.

Many of our vets have been through hotter temps than this, but no one should be without a ride in this heat. So on June 30, "Troops2Vets" is having a car wash at 89th and Western to raise money to give free rides to Oklahoma's finest and help retired veterans.

"The spookiest thing that I ever had to deal with was back in '03," 38-year-old retired Air Force Staff Sgt. Lee Maples said.

As Maples shared one story from the seven times he deployed while serving in the U.S. Air Force as an aircraft mechanic, his hands were shaking.

"We were launching jets out to bomb Iraqi artillery sites. It got quiet. It was five in the afternoon. It was hot," Maples remembered. "All the sudden you hear, in the distance you hear the evening prayer, but you couldn't tell where it was coming from because there was nothing but sand around us.

"Reality hits. You're just focused on your job. Then, that split moment, something comes up and brings reality to you. This is real," he remembered.

Read more about Troops2Vets.

An accident while working on a jet grounded Maples permanently and his reality now is heartbreaking. He is prescribed 37 different medications. He is losing the feeling in both hands. He suffers seizures and PTSD, and therefore it's not safe for Maples to drive.

"That really bothers me, where it shouldn't but losing that independence and having to fall back and rely on others, is really hard to do," he said.

Maples found Troops2Vets on Facebook and now he wants to help veterans like himself find a reliable ride.

"I can just call them up and they have a volunteer who can come pick me up and take me to school, or to get prescriptions," Maples said. 

There are other programs that pick veterans up, but Maples says it's tough to work around his schedule with school and a family.

"It's nice just to know there's a program out there outside the DAV that I can count on," Maples said.

Fellow Oklahoma Air Force Veteran Matthew Potter started Troops2Vets.org in hopes to help. Right now there are 65 veterans on his wait list, ranging in ages 30 to 65.

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