These Senior Vets Dedicated Their Lives to Helping Other Vets

Along the highway of goodwill

May 13, 2018
Mel Ortega (left) and Bernardo Jaramillo (right) stand, March 21, in front of the van they use to transport disabled veterans.

Mel Ortega (left) and Bernardo Jaramillo (right) stand, March 21, in front of the van they use to transport disabled veterans. (SUNfoto by Austin Fisher)

This pair of retired army soldiers deeply realize the sacrifice their fellow brothers made for their country, so they’ve dedicated their time and resources to drive disabled veterans - or those who don’t have access to a car - down Northern New Mexico’s Interstate 25 for their medical treatment.



85-year-old Mel Ortega and 70-year-old Bernardo Jaramill’s mission, which began in 2002, is one that stems from gratitude.

“When I was wounded in Vietnam, my brothers in arms, they never left me or the other guys behind,” Jaramillo said. “The reason I do this is, they never let me down, and I don’t intend to let ’em down. I don’t care from what war, we gotta serve them, because they served us.”

Ortega has donated over 10,000 hours to the Disabled American Veterans, nonprofit helping veterans and their families access benefits, while Jaramillo has already logged in 5,000 hours.

Both Ortega and Jaramillo enjoy getting to know veterans and keeping them company on their journey to receiving medical treatment.

The pair hopes to find another volunteer who could help them drive former soldiers four days a week.

The heroes believe it’s their duty to protect and serve the men who fought hard to protect the freedom of millions of Americans and never go without the help they need after bravely serving their country.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE:
Home Depot Donates $50 Million to Train 20,000 Workers
By Veterans, For Veterans: Handbags That Change Lives [Q&A]
How a Florida Fishing Guide Helped Thousands of Army Veterans

REBECCA WOJNO, CONTRIBUTOR
Rebecca is passionate about reading, cooking, and learning about people doing good in the world. She especially loves writing about wellness, personal growth, and relationships.

ADD A COMMENT