Volunteer Takes Fellow Vets to Medical Appointments

4:00 PM, May 2, 2011   |    comments
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BUFFALO, NY--  "You gotta keep going, keep moving. If you don't use it, you lose it," said volunteer Charles "Chuck" Catalina.

Catalina is usually on-the-go; often, he's headed to the Buffalo VA Medical Center, with a patient in tow.

Dennis Dibble is one of many veterans Chuck, a veteran himself, volunteers to drive to and from appointments at the medical center 2 days a week.

"There was a time things got tough, and he made me smile, you know?" said Dibble. "That's all you need."

Without the free rides, Dibble said he isn't sure how he would make it to see his doctors.

"I'd probably have to take a bus. And that would probably take three buses from Lackawanna up to North Buffalo."

A trip that could take hours, versus a ride that takes just minutes, with a driver he feels like he's known for years.

"Chuck's great," said Dibble. "Chuck is a good conversationalist."

"Being with the veterans and talking about our lives together, it's been very interesting and rewarding," said Catalina.

A navy vet- Chuck never saw any combat- in fact he says he never saw any water, but he did develop a strong sense of camaraderie that hasn't waned in sixty years.

"Its a nice feeling to help fellow veterans, many of whom have gone through an awful lot more than I ever have," said Catalina.

"We have to stick together. It's the only thing we can do," said Dibble. "Stuck together over there, we've got to stick together over here. And that's the only way we're going to make it through this world, and with people like Chuck, it's easy."


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