Carl Turner takes military “service” beyond the traditional tour of duty to volunteer duty for veterans and friends
Carl Turner scans over the slips of paper posted on the bulletin board near his desk. He’s looking for all the notes with the word VAN on them. He pulls them off the board one by one and goes to work.
Carl volunteers at the VA Clinic in Paducah. He’s 67, a military veteran, and the coordinator of van services, a way to help veterans in the Paducah area get to appointments at the main hospital and clinics in Marion, IL.
“My job is to find out who needs to be where and when and get them scheduled on the van,” he explains. At a time of near-record gas prices, this service is more than a nicety for veterans. It is vital. “I just like helping people,” says Carl modestly. “Any way I can, I like to do it. This takes the burden off our veterans.” For many, the volunteer van service is the only way for them to get to Marion for ongoing appointments and treatment.
Carl, a retired mechanic with the McCracken County Road Department, has been involved as a veteran in the community for quite some time. “I am part of the DAV (Disabled American Veterans) who owns the van used at the VA, and I’m a part of the AMVETS. We are able to help one another as veterans through those organizations, and together we are able to help our whole community.”
It was Carl’s passion for helping that got him noticed at the VA Clinic. He was approached roughly a year ago about being a volunteer, a position he gladly accepted. “The man who got me into it was the coordinator, and he died unexpectedly on the 4th of July. I was put there for a reason.”
The van, which goes back and forth to Marion nearly every day, is a responsibility Carl never takes lightly. His attention to detail and dedication to his position earned him two awards recently: Post AMVET of the Year and Outstanding AMVET of the Year. And while he is proud of the awards, they are not his motivation.
“I received a phone call early one morning,” recalls Carl. “It was a day that the van was not going to Marion, but there had been some confusion, and a gentleman was at the Paducah clinic with no way to get to Marion for his appointment.” There was no question
in Carl’s mind as to the solution to the problem. He got dressed, went to the clinic, and took the fellow veteran to Marion.
Uncompromising integrity, dedication to community, and one’s calling in life make Carl an outstanding citizen in our eyes. We proudly hold up customers like Carl as role models for all of us in all that we do.