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Heroes, towing company partner to deliver RV to vet

RIO RANCHO, N.M. — Rio Rancho-based veterans assistance organization Heroes Walk Among Us (HWAU) partnered with Danlar Towing of Albuquerque to get a Raton veteran and his wife into better housing recently.

A Vietnam Army veteran and his wife were living in a leaky, substandard, 6-by-8-foot pull trailer, and contacted HWAU founder Shane D'Onofrio for help after learning of the group's Wheels4Vets program.

HWAU has a Craig's List ad that invites people to donate old recreational vehicles.

Heroes Walk Among Us will pick up the RVs, refurbish them and use them to house veterans in need.

The group received a 34-foot Itasca motor home in good condition, except that the brakes didn't work and the parts needed to fix them were no longer being made, D'Onofrio said. So, the RV would have to be towed to Raton.

D'Onofrio said he called a dozen Albuquerque-area towing companies to ask for help, but was met with refusals.

Then he called Danlar, and General Manager Chris Chavez agreed to help immediately.

"It kind of blew my mind," D'Onofrio said of Chavez's willingness.

Danlar employee Rex Thurman, a 21-year-old Army veteran, ended up driving the tow truck.

"Knowing I was a veteran, Chris came to me to see if I would be interested in doing the job," said Thurman. "I immediately accepted."

Thurman delivered the RV on Oct. 2.

"The approximate 450-mile roundtrip task encompassed the entire day and, coincidently, the 34-foot motor home was delivered to an Army infantry veteran by another," a news release said.