VA Bedford Healthcare System
Vettes to Vets Sunday Sept 30th 2018
The annual parade of Corvettes arrived at Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital (Bedford VA) on Sept. 30th, for the 15th Annual Vettes to Vets Day to support Veterans at Bedford VA.
Karen Blandini, chairperson of Vettes to Vets, recounts the event that attracted 25 Corvette owners 15 years ago, has grown into a massive Corvette rally with drivers from all over New England, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Canada. She said the event had 670 Corvettes in 2017, and 681 officially registered in 2018.
“Not all are Veterans, but all come to support our Veterans,” said Blandini. This event is held annually on Gold Star Mother’s Day. Blandini said so many Veterans love the Corvette because it was the sports car of their youth and it generates a great deal of nostalgia.“It’s America’s only sports car. It’s just a classic iconic American car and it is the one they all wanted to have in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s,” Blandini said. Voting takes place each year and one Corvette owner will receive the Veteran’s Choice Trophy.
Vettes to Vets was a recent the recipient of the national American Hospital Association HAVE Award (Hospital Awards for Voluntary Excellence) for their contributions to our Veterans, and the 2017 Eagle Spirit Award from Bedford VA for an outstanding contribution by a volunteer group to our Veterans.
The goal of the annual Vettes to Vets Corvette show is to raise funds and collect resources to benefit Veterans cared for at the hospital. Since Vettes to Vets started in 2003, more than $480,000 has been raised in monetary and non-monetary donations. Funds have been used to rebuild the hospital’s greenhouse; maintain an education center for Veterans with free Internet and computer training; build a new hospice unit; and purchase a wheelchair van for recreational outings for patients.
Over 120 VA volunteers were on hand to support the patients as well as Vettes to Vets volunteers who work every year on the two-day fundraiser. The night before the Corvettes reach Bedford VA, the drivers attended a dinner and held silent and live auctions. On Sunday, September 30th the parade of Corvettes rolled in to Bedford VA for over an hour, followed by a barbecue, live music by the Never Easy Band. The Corvette parade has grown from 25 cars in 2003 to 681 vehicles in 2018. It streamed through town and parked with precision and no spare room in the "Oval" at Bedford VA, so that Veterans who are too ill or disabled to participate in the event can see the sports cars from their rooms.
Each Corvette driver brought donations for Veterans that includes items to make their stay at the Bedford VA more comfortable, such as games, clothing, gift cards, portable electronics and hygeine products. Some Corvette drivers choose to make donations by check to the General Patients Fund 9001 to support Veterans at Bedford VA. For more information, please contact Karen Blandini at 781.858.1810 or Bedford VA Voluntary Service, 781-687-3076.
See pics from 2018 and other years on our Facebook Albums "The Plates", The Corvettes, and Lowell Sun, "Vettes to Vets" WHDH Channel 7 Boston covered the event here. Special thank you to Maia Kennedy Photography for the donation of her time and talent to photograph 2018 Vettes to Vets show.