Forward Observer — PS to You, Lehigh Valley Veterans Wanted for Focus

PA Veterans Needs Assessment FG Flyer NCC 7Nov2013LVMAC Poster Art 2005The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, using Penn State University (PSU) – Harrisburg as its contractor,  is conducting an unusual survey to assess the real needs of veterans and their families.

There are significant concerns with the current system which need addressing at state and federal levels or, in our estimation, this study would not not be conducted.  If properly done,  LVMAC sees the study as a tool towards achieving future system changes for the benefit of our local military veterans and their families. In addition to literature searches, comparisons with other states, random surveys and interviews of selected organizations to help assess the situation,  focus group meetings are being conducted at six sites throughout the state.  The Lehigh Valley has been selected for one of these sites – usually we are overlooked. That focus group meeting will be held on 7 November at 5:30 p.m., Northampton Community College.  HOWEVER, one must pre-register and apply to attend, for this is an activity by invite only to assure a proper mix of participants and seating is limited – there is a screening process.  See the flyer.

LVMAC wants to further ensure a useful, productive focus group meeting that addresses present and future needs.  More than discussion about claims woes are needed and this is a key concern of ours.  Critical voids, such as mental health care, homelessness, education, employment, drug and alcohol abuse, women and rural outreach programs, are either ignored or worked upon by too few in state government.  These need discussion also.  Therefore, we ask for veterans from the local area who have served since the 1960’s, and particularly those of the current wars, to take the time to participate.  We’re interested in providing new faces to be seen talking to the survey team.

We realize most of us live busy lives and being a veteran is only one aspect of our lives, but think of the good it might do to concentrate for a couple of hours of one’s time in parting the curtain to what is really needed during transition back to civilian life and later; exposing where help or assistance is needed where it is not (or not thought of).  Remember how it was or is for you.  We believe the Lehigh Valley is an ideal location for a study such as this for it is representative of an average military veteran community in Pennsylvania where no major military force bases exist and it encompasses a mixture of urban, suburban, and rural communities all in one stroke.  This makes us a near perfect area for sampling the general condition of our state system.  Who knows … a couple of hours of your time might help change the course of the Commonwealth in its assistance to veterans and how it interacts with federal organizations serving veterans for generations to come.

So … take a chance … think of yourself and others … cross the Line of Departure/leave home port one more time and participate.  And … if you have a moment, we encourage feedback to us in what you thought of the focus group — as you are our special interest.

Again, see the flyer above for how to participate.

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RJH
22 October 2013

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