By Ted Scouten

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SUNRISE (CBSMiami) – It’s a simple plaque in the lobby of the Sunrise VA Clinic, but it comes with at a very high price – the life of an Army veteran.

Willie Span died two and a half years ago after getting off the bus on Commercial Blvd. in front of the VA Clinic.

The 70-year-old was hit by a car while trying to cross seven lanes of traffic. His wife vowed back then to bring change.

“I have a voice, and my husband did not die in vain. There will be a resolution to this. I will see to it,” Doris Span said.

And she did.

TOPS! is Broward’s paratransit system.  It now takes vets door-to-door, from their home to the clinic for $75. There’s no need to risk life and limb crossing busy commercial Blvd. or being dropped off a quarter mile away and walking.

“It gets them door-to-door and ultimately it gets them safely to the VA which is what everyone wanted,” Doris Span said.

Jay Coutcher will begin using the service soon, when he has a procedure and can’t drive himself.

“It means you don’t have to worry about your own safety and your transportation if you can’t handle it,” he said.

For Doris Span, nothing can lessen her pain and loss. But she’s glad at least vets can have safe transportation, and people will know her husband is the one who made it happen.

“When people have long ago forgotten about the details and the specifics, they’ll always be able to look there and somebody say, ‘Well, who was Willie Span?’ And the story will go on, will be continued,” she said.

  1. The cost is $1.75 each way, not $75.00

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