Jefferson Award Honoree: Lester Wilker - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Jefferson Award Honoree: Lester Wilker

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(WRCB) - Lester Wilker still loves to drive.

At the age of 82 his destination these days is usually the Veteran's Park in Soddy Daisy. He loves to just walk around the track and reflect on his time spent serving veterans in a different way.

You see, for seven years he drove his van, full of heroes, to VA clinics in Atlanta, Murfreesboro and Nashville.

The wall at his home is covered in awards and there's just one picture of Lester in his van. That's okay with him, because his memories are still sharp with more than two hundred thousand miles that he drove these veterans, accident free.

"I really enjoyed it, especially helping our veterans," Lester says. "It really made my day every time I picked them up and took them to the hospital and brought them back. It really made my day. I liked to drive and I liked the veterans. I got acquainted with a lot of them."

From Tennessee's Governor, to the state legislature, Lester has been thanked for his kindness shown to our state's veterans.  From World War Two to Vietnam and into the current conflict in the Middle East his stories heard in his van can be told from all types of battlefields.

But perhaps the one person who tells his stories best, is the person who nominated him as a Jefferson Award Honoree, his closest friend Virginia Bennett.

"I love America. We love America. We love veterans. He's done his servitude," says Virginia. "He drove for three and half years from Rhea County to everywhere. He would wait and spend the night just to make sure he took these veterans home. Sun up to sun down."

It was all worth the wait.

"When they come back they just don't seem to be treated like they should be treated. They helped protect our country," Lester says.

They say no act of kindness, no matter how small is ever wasted. Even behind the wheel of a van, his love for real heroes was felt every single mile.

Now that's a traveling man with a lot of pride.

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