Veterans Jim McGinley and Barbara Baxter appreciate the availability of the Susanville Veteran's Administration van ride program in this photo published in the Lassen County Times in February 2019.

Aubrey Hawkins posthumously awarded President’s Lifetime Achievement award

Susanville area veterans lost a great supporter when Aubrey Hawkins, age 76, of Chester California passed Saturday, Jan. 7, 2023.  Hawkins had been a volunteer driver and then driving coordinator for the Susanville area for more than 15 years with the Veterans Administration. The VA provides transportation to local veterans from the Chester/Susanville area and places along the way to Reno for medical services.

During the annual VA Volunteer Recognition luncheon on April 27, 2023, Hawkins was not only recognized for his total volunteer hours of 4,077 hours of volunteer service, but also awarded a President’s Lifetime Achievement award, which included a letter signed by the president, a certificate and a pin in recognition of his service.

Aubrey’s wife, Cindy Hawkins, has now followed in his footsteps as a volunteer driver and coordinator. Veterans who wish to take advantage of the VA van stationed in Susanville can do so on Tuesdays and Thursdays with an advance call to Cindy at (530) 249-5779. It is suggested to make your request as soon as you have an appointment to ensure there is room in the van.  Appointments must be between 9 and 1, with the 1 o’clock appointment not more than one hour. This allows drivers to leave and get back during office hours in case of emergency.  The van leaves from the clinic two hours before the first appointment.

In Hawkins’s words, “I offer a big thank you to the volunteers who have been faithfully driving each week as they make it possible for those vets who don’t drive, can’t drive or can’t afford to drive to make it to their appointments.”

Can you spare a day or two a month to help our local veterans?  The Susanville Veterans Administration volunteer program is always looking for more volunteer drivers.  If you have a day or two a month to drive veterans to Reno and back for medical appointments, consider this opportunity to support our local veterans.  All appointments are on either Tuesdays or Thursdays.  The vehicle is provided by the VA.

“The more volunteers we have the easier it is on everyone”, current volunteer driver Lorene Guffey said.  “If we can broaden our driver base, it gives us flexibility for last minute emergencies and assigning driving dates.”  Guffey added, “I am not a veteran, but my dad was and this is a way for me to honor him and support my community.”