LVMAC News — Assistant District Attorney Luksa Explains DA’s Veterans’ Mentor Program

June 27, 2012


Steve Luksa, First Assistant District Attorney for Lehigh County, spoke to the Council on 20 June at its business meeting about the District Attorney’s Veterans’ Mentor Program. Other program team members present with him were: Debbie Garlicki, Executive Aide (Public Relations), DA’s Office; Brenda Trayes, Administrative Assistant, DA’s Office; Shane Schmeckenbecker, Probation Officer II; and Maureen McManus, Executive Director of Lehigh Valley Pretrial Services

According to Mr. Luksa, the one-year old, Veterans’ Mentor Program (whose motto is “Leave no veteran behind.”) started out as part of Team MISA (Mental Illness and Substance Abuse), now in its seventh year and an effort which has reduced cost and recidivism while still protecting the community. An increasing number of veterans were using the that program, but there was no way to address treating them uniquely (as he believed they should be).  Hence the program was created. Read the rest of this entry »


LVMAC Tidbits — Veterans Sanctuary: Closed Up for Good?

May 23, 2012

Treatment Trends Announces Suspension of Operations

It is with profound dismay that the Lehigh Valley Military Affairs Council informs you of Veterans Sanctuary’s suspension of operations. It was our only local, long-term residential addiction and PTSD services treatment facility exclusively dedicated to military veterans. This important asset to our veterans statewide is no longer accepting clients. Read the rest of this entry »

LVMAC News — Mensch Says More Can Be Done

April 23, 2012


 State Senator Bob Mensch, 24th District, spoke to the Council at its business meeting on 18 April 2012.

A Valley Forge Military Academy graduate, he served in the Army Reserve as a platoon sergeant of a heavy engineer equipment platoon during the Vietnam Era. Currently, among other committees, he serves on the Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee, headed by Senator Lisa Baker.  He is on the only legislator in the valley to so serve on a veterans affairs related committee.

He began by stating he recognizes that the Vietnam War veterans often returned with unattended problems and with little due respect from their society. He has had buddies who suffer from Agent Orange diseases and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Consequently, he feels strongly we must do better by our veterans.

Things are significantly different now, he related, and we have learned to respect our troops, no matter our disagreements about the current war.  Nonetheless, our state legislature is not doing as good a job as it should in helping to catch returning veterans who need help, particularly in the area of mental health and PTSD. Read the rest of this entry »

LVMAC News — Larry Speaks Out

March 22, 2012

President of Vietnam Veterans of America’s State Council Addresses the Council

Larry Holman, the President of the State Council of the Vietnam Veterans of America, spoke to the Council at its 21 March business meeting on the topic of the “Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) — Not Forgetting Its or the Next Generations.”

First, he explained its origins. VVA came into being because existing veterans organizations at the time were not always welcoming to returning Vietnam veterans – many felt rejected.  However, it did not really get started as an organization until the late 1970’s, early 1980’s.  It realized there was strength in numbers. Out of their own experiences, came its founding principle and its motto:  “Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another.” More on its history can be found on its website.

Mr. Holman stated VVA is an active organization and an outspoken advocate for the current generation of war veterans.  There is good reason.  There are concerns over hazardous exposures, let alone trauma injuries. Read the rest of this entry »


November 22, 2011


Clyde Hoch, author of Tracks – Memoirs of a Vietnam Veteran, spoke to the Council on his service in the Marine Corps, his remembrances of war and his return home.

First off, he expressed his appreciation to the Council for their concern for veterans as he thinks too often veterans “are tossed aside” once they have played their role in the defense of the nation.

Now in his sixties, he believes he has a story to tell – as many other veterans do also – which can help the young understand that sometimes great sacrifices are made on their behalf, that millions of men and women before them have left their loving families to do whatever is necessary to protect our way of life. Nor does it matter they ultimately served as cooks or infantry, for the deed was in the willingness to sacrifice for others even when those “others” often little understood or cared for the service members during the Vietnam era. Read the rest of this entry »

LVMAC News — Swinfard Talks on Downstream Effects of War

October 23, 2011


Dr. Ronald W. Swinfard, M.D., President and CEO of the Lehigh Valley Health Network (LHVN) spoke to the Council at its business meeting on 19 October.  During the Vietnam War, he served in the Medical Service Corps as a Battalion Surgeon (a lieutenant position)  of an Aid Station (a platoon equivalent organization) in 195th  Brigade of the Americal Division (23rd Infantry Division), circa 1970.  After a short stint as a high school teacher, upon return from service and decommissioning, he embarked on a career as a doctor, first training in internal medicine and later dermatology as a specialty.  In 2003, Swinfard was hired by the Lehigh Valley Health Network as Chief Medical Officer (CMO) after serving at fifteen years at the Harry S. Truman VA Medical Center in Columbia, Missouri, eventually rising to the position of Section Chief for Dermatology.  He was also a key figure in the University of Missouri Hospital – Columbia.  In November of 2010, he was selected for his current position.  He stated that he is ever mindful of the sacrifice of others who gave their lives and because of them, believes we should celebrate our lives and make them useful in the service of others.

In his talk, “The Downstream Health Effects of War,” he observed that few doctors are veterans and hence a learning curve is often required when it comes to their care.  He noted that that LHVN sees a lot of veterans in their Emergency Rooms; and that while the organization has done some work with the local VA Clinic, it intends to do more on the behalf of our local veterans. Read the rest of this entry »

LVMAC Tidbits

October 18, 2011

Judith’s Reading Room Helps Veterans Sanctuary

As an extension of one of its ongoing efforts, which is support our troops with books to read,  Judith’s Reading Room is donating to Veterans Sanctuary a custom designed mobile library stocked with books hand picked to help in the recovery of veterans suffering from a dual diagnosis such as PTSD and an addiction.  The Veterans Sanctuary, a division of Treatment Trends, Inc.,  is the first of its kind in Pennsylvania.   The dedication ceremony will be held in the auditorium of Veterans Sanctuary at 24 South 5th St., Allentown, PA at 6 p.m.

For the press release, click here.


As of 18 Ocotober 2011

%d bloggers like this: