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      Iconic bus used by America's Last Patrol to be retired due to costs

      Commander Ricardo Pena with America's Last Patrol flips through the pages and remembers the heroes.

      "That's what we do for every KIA," he said while holding a photo from the book. "We do a flag raising ceremony."

      He and about a dozen other active members use a black bus to honor the sacrifices of our veterans.

      "Sometimes we take the bus out for any veterans that die," he said.

      They also use it in parades and to travel the state to fight for rights.

      "We went all the way to Fort Worth in it," the commander recalled.

      It's an iconic symbol.

      The bus fueled by the sheer desire of volunteers who simply want to give back.

      "As you're going through the book, you must realize what an integral part that bus played in your operation?" Action 4 TMs Ryan Wolf asked.

      "Exactly," Pena said. "That bus has been through hell and back. It's been there for us and never let us down."

      But after about a dozen years in operation, the bus is rundown.

      "We painted the bus a few times," he said.

      Repair expenses to keep the once donated vehicle running are too costly for the non-profit group.

      America's Last Patrol, Post 3 Rio Grande Valley, Texas, now finds itself in need.

      "We don't usually ask for help but this time we're just asking to see in return what we can get to get back to what we're doing," Commander Pena said.

      They're hoping to ditch the large tires and diesel fuel for something more economical.

      Pena says a passenger van would enable them to do even more.

      "To go out there and serve our community but also our veterans," he explained. The VA doesn TMt have a bus to pick up a veteran that lives in a remote area. We can step up to the plate and pick up the veteran."

      It's not easy for the organization to ask for help.

      "We're just trying to continue to help our heroes," Pena said.

      America's Last Patrol doesn TMt want to leave anyone behind.

      If you can help the organization obtain a new vehicle to continue services call Commander Ricardo Pena directly at (956) 393-8678.

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