Two Warren drivers have racked up enough miles to circle the globe four times while transporting their fellow veterans.
Ed Hunter recently reached the 100,000-mile plateau as a driver for the Warren County Veterans Affairs Clinic. Jim Toner had been ahead of Hunter with 98,000 miles before his wife had medical problems and he had to quit.
"I was trying to chase him," Hunter said.
Times Observer photo by Colin Kyler
Jim Toner, left, and Ed Hunter, right, have logged a lot of miles transporting veterans.
Along the way, Hunter has transported more than 1,100 patients and spent 4,200 hours on the road. It all started 11 years ago when he was asked to participate.
Both drivers know what it's like to serve. Hunter is a World War II veteran while Toner spent six years in the Air Force.
"I was in from 1955 to 1961," Toner said. "I lucked out because it was between the Vietnam War and Korean War."
When David Cassidy was the director of Warren County Veterans Affairs, Toner said his wife went to see him. She told him about how her husband was sitting around the house now that he was retired and Cassidy told her to send him over.
"That's when being the director was a part time job," Toner said. "He would lock up the office and drive people himself if he couldn't find a driver."
The opportunity to help someone less fortunate spurs Hunter on. Without the service, Toner said some of the veterans wouldn't have any other way to make their medical appointments as they may only drive locally if at all.
Driving isn't new for Hunter as he drove a truck for 45 years. His travels took him to all of the lower 48 states.
"Apparently, I quit too soon," Hunter joked.
Traveling so much has its pitfalls as Toner recalled getting in a wreck when he stopped for a car turning in front of him but the one behind him didn't stop. One time Hunter was making a trip to Pittsburgh when the veteran he was driving informed him they were supposed to be going to Erie.