LVMAC News — McKenrick Talks About a New VA Regional Office

December 8, 2012

Newspaper Logo 70%In This Issue:

  • The New Director of the Philadelphia VA Regional Office Introduces Himself to the Council
  • Community Educational Outreach’s Journey of Discovery Reaches Its End
  • Changing Our Stripes in Employment
  • Health Care in Our Community is at a Critical Stage in Its Development
  • Adam Keys Smart Home Build May or May Not Continue
  • A New Program Director Has Been Found for the Visitation Program
  • LVMAC is on a Mission to Recruit All the Area’s Universities and Colleges
  • Finally, Something Significant Out of State Government

The New Director of the Philadelphia VA Regional Office Introduces Himself to the Council

Robert McKenrick, the relatively new Director of the newly reorganized Philadelphia VA Regional Office of the Veterans Benefits Administration, spoke to the Council at its business meeting on 21 November. He brought along Eileen Kostic, Manager of the Veterans Service Center, and Leroy Saunders, a Military Services Coordinator.  Mr. McKenrick is a current war veteran from the Army Reserve.

Recently what was known as the VA Regional Office and Insurance Center (VARIOC) split Read the rest of this entry »


LVMAC News — Thrivent Foundation Wishes to Work with LVMAC

October 8, 2012

THRIVENT FINANCIAL WANTS TO GET INVOLVED IN ASSISTING VETERANS

Newspaper Logo 70%Messrs. Rick Baldwin, Community Engagement Coordinator, Tom Knauer and Michael Colson, the regional point of contact, of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans addressed the Council at its 26 September business meeting.  Although there is no chapter specific to the Lehigh Valley, there are about 107,287 members in 53 chapters throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Consequently, it might play a huge role to the benefit of veterans in our valley.  This is what their talk centered around. Read the rest of this entry »


Forward Observer — ‘Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012’ Enacted!

August 28, 2012

NEW VETERANS OMINBUS BILL SIGNED INTO LAW ON 6 AUGUST

LVMAC Poster Art 2005Surprisingly, nothing has been mentioned in the local media on the recent passage of H.R. 1627 (now known as Public Law 112-154), Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012, despite its importance to the veterans community. It is an omnibus bill affecting many; and it finally brings some, though not total, resolution to the Camp Lejeune water contamination situation which has been previously written about.

Several veterans organizations withheld their support because the Lejeune provision set a dangerous precedent in their opinion. In their minds, the bill unfairly levies requirements on the VA to take care of an essentially Department of Defense (DoD) or TRICARE problem.  While we might agree with them from one perspective, the larger issue is the government taking responsibility to care for those in need of it, no matter whence it comes. We are more concerned about the fact that no one currently knows when the VA will implement the Lejeune actions required, since no deadline has been set. Read the rest of this entry »


LVMAC News — LVMAC Awards Its Scholarships

August 27, 2012

NINE RECIPIENTS ARE RECOGNIZED

The 2012 award recipients of the Lehigh Valley Military Affairs Council’s Scholarship Program were honored at the Council’s business meeting on 15 August 2012. Phil Hublitz of the Scholarship Subcommittee, presented the awards, assisted by Dave Binder, Board Member.  The awardees had been vetted by a team consisting of Phil Hublitz and Bob Rothenberger as Co-Chairs, Lois Binder, JoAnn Van Billiard, and Tom Shaunessey

Most of the awardees are high school seniors and the most are enrolling in ROTC in college with plans to serve in the military – several plan twenty year careers in the service. The majority are enrolled in local colleges. Two who are a veteran’s child plan on military service. One homeless veteran is returning to college. Applications from returning veterans continue to be problematic probably due to the generous Post 9/11 GI Bill. Local colleges have a large veteran enrollment, the college financial aid staffs have been contacted and are well aware that scholarships are available from LVMAC. Veterans have a record of success in college. An application has never been received from a Reservist or Guardsman from a local military unit, except for their children. Those recognized, together with their families, were: Read the rest of this entry »


Forward Observer — The Lejeune Matter, Some Good News Finally?

July 31, 2012

U.S. Senate Finally Steps In

LVMAC Poster Art 2005

For months there has been a hold-up in the passage of an omnibus veterans benefits bill in Congress, H.R. 1627, but this time to the good. The bill had started life providing only “…for certain requirements for the placement of monuments in Arlington National Cemetery …”, evolved into The Honoring Americans Act of 2011 from the House and finally emerged, mutated, from the Senate as the Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012.  What idiot said bill ‘riders’ are bad? Read the rest of this entry »


LVMAC News — Why War Stories Matter

July 27, 2012

 DAVE VENDITTA AND HIS WAR STORY PROJECT

Newspaper Logo 70%Dave Venditta, Content Editor for The Morning Call newspaper, spoke to the Council at its business meeting on 18 July on the subject of war stories and why they matter.

He got interested in the subject in the mid-1990’s while trying to find out how his cousin, Nicky, a twenty year old helicopter pilot, had actually died in Vietnam within eleven days of his arrival. Venditta was a 15 year old at the time of the funeral, but memories of his cousin haunted him. In the end, he discovered the official version of death by enemy action was untrue. Instead, Nicky had actually died at the hands of his own while undergoing an in-country orientation. Whether or not the sergeant pulling the pin of the grenade in a demonstration of its safe use actually new it was a live grenade or thought it was a dud or practice grenade was never determined, but three died as a result. One of them was Nicky. However, in the process of relaying the news to the family, his cousins and uncles began recounting their own war stories. Read the rest of this entry »


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

June 27, 2012

LEHIGH COUNTY SEES ITS VETERANS’ MENTOR PROGRAM AS A SUCCESS

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 »


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