Cliff Boxley, a Veteran Helping Other Area Vets


(L-R) Jeremy Miller VA Service Officer, Commissioner Henry Schnabel, Cliff Boxley, Tammi Clark-County Public Health Director, Commissioner Wendy Buxton-Andrade, Commissioner-Elect, Ron Cook

(L-R) Jeremy Miller VA Service Officer, Commissioner Henry Schnabel, Cliff Boxley, Tammi Clark-County Public Health Director, Commissioner Wendy Buxton-Andrade, Commissioner-Elect, Ron Cook


The Prowers County Board of Commissioners recently commended Cliff Boxley for receiving the 2014 AARP Andrus Award. Boxley has been driving southeast Colorado veterans to medical appointments in Denver, Colorado Springs, Pueblo and La Junta for the past seven years.

The AARP letter states, “The Association’s most prestigious volunteer tribute recognizes outstanding individuals who are sharing their experience, talents and skills to enrich the lives of others.” Boxley has put in over 6,000 volunteer hours transporting veterans to their needed medical appointments, which amounts to over 165,000 miles.

Cliff Boxley has almost always been connected to military service, moving to Lamar in 1963 and serving with the U.S. Army from 1972 to 1980, at times with the 11th Armored Cavalry in Germany and the First Cavalry Division at Fort Hood.

Boxley has stayed connected to service activities, serving on the Board of Governors of the First Cavalry Division Association which has 30,000 members across the nation and was just re-elected to his fourth, two-year term in that capacity. A fact not known to many area residents, but the draft board still exists and Cliff serves on the local board, as well as community service with the Lamar Partnership Inc., board.

To log over 165,000 miles in volunteer service, you need to be dedicated to an idea of service, and Boxley, along with Galen Burnett and Leland Brandt, spread the driving duties among themselves, rising as early as 4am some days to take veterans to Denver to meet their morning appointments. “There are some times when I’m driving for three or four days in a row, it just depends on everyone’s schedule,” he explained, adding, “It just started out at three or four drives a month and increased from there.”

He added it can make for a long day, “We’re supposed to be out of there and back on the road as soon as possible to eliminate any late driving, but there are times we don’t get out of Denver before 5pm, even though the appointments are set up as early as possible.”

“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 explained.  Grauberger had been the county VA representative for 20 years, retiring about two years ago, to be replaced by Jeremy Miller, Veteran’s Service Officer.  The three drivers are all volunteers, using a van purchased through a Colorado Veteran’s Trust Fund grant and the other two are VA vehicles.  The VA pays for gas and upkeep on all three.  The service is free to any veteran who needs medical transportation.

The drivers pay for their own meals, except when they travel to Denver where they receive a ticket that doesn’t always cover the full cost. Boxley said no one complains.  The drivers use trac phones to confirm rides and to keep track of the veterans during the trips and for road emergencies if they arise.  Miller added that there is a current need for additional volunteer drivers.  You must be in reasonable good health with no heart problems and a general driver’s license is required.  You can contact Miller at 719-336-2606 if you are interested.

Boxley added that driving is his way of giving something back to the area veterans. “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,” he added.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: CommissionerscommunityCountyFeaturedGranadaHealthHollyProwers CountyTransportationWiley


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