Prowers County, Colo. sits in the rural southeast corner of the state on the Kansas border, more than four hours away from Denver. Its remote locale makes it difficult for the elderly and disabled veterans who live there to get to their far-flung medical appointments.
Luckily, these American heroes can count on champion volunteer driver Cliff Boxley, who doesn’t hesitate to set out at 4 a.m. — sometimes up to four days a week — to bring them to their doctors’ appointments in Denver, Pueblo, La Junta and Colorado Springs.
Boxley himself served in the Army from 1972 to 1980 and has kept close to his fellow vets, in part through his serving of four terms on the Board of Governors for the First Cavalry Division Association.
In 2007, he started driving veterans in Prowers County to their medical appointments and has since racked up more than 6,000 volunteer hours — driving a total 165,000 miles in that time.
“I started driving because I got a call from Carol Grauberger one day. She was the person who started this service in Prowers County for the veterans. That was seven years and over 150,000 miles ago,” he tells Russ Baldwin of The Prowers Journal.
For all those hours on the road, Boxley was honored with the 2014 AARP Andrus Award for Colorado, which is given to outstanding volunteers making a difference in the lives of seniors from each state.
“Rural veterans tend to be short-changed when it comes to VA healthcare, with few advocates for them in this region. In the military, we always took care of each other, so this is my way of doing that,” Boxley tells Baldwin.