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Scholarship Program:  Deadline for submissions is 15 May.  Marketing is occurring.  Go to “Items of Note” on Homepage for more information.

Homelessness:  Evidently Wilkes-Barre VA is not interested in rescheduling its local homelessness summit. Meanwhile the Allentown Commission to End Chronic Homelessness has scheduled its own for 13 May.  The subject is the most natural of the subjects: housing.  Awaiting word from Lehigh County Conference of Churches on a request to support employment training.

Outreach – Veterans Sanctuary:   They expect to be operating by April.  Licensing inspection is set for 22 March.  State VFW has launched its statewide donation campaign to support it.  The book  drive is going well and Judith’s Reading Room, a local nonprofit that provides books to units and the VA hospitals, has graciously stepped forward to support it beyond its dreams, as a result of VVA Chapter 415’s actions.

LVMAC has settled upon supporting their new family program for this year, for funding support, thinking this is where it can do the most good.  Family education and counseling often is necessary to the recovery of the individual, but typical programs just fund the treatment of the veteran.  We await the “ask” proposal.

Military Support:  The Bounce U event is scheduled for 23 April 6-8 PM at the Bethlehem Township location. It is for all recently returned veterans of this war and their families and those who continue to serve.  Pre-registration is required.  Contact Dick Moore.  See calendar or “Items of Note”  on home page for contact information.

We are slow at getting our family PTSD booklet out.  Many resources require that we make a call or contact to ensure its appropriateness as a good resource.  Awareness of the Lehigh Valley and it having needs like any other military-veteran community is a byproduct.

Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing:  Spring event will be held on 7 May. Details to follow.

Operation JOVE: Employment and reemployment are considered a core issue for returning veterans. It is also a core project of LVMAC.  We will restart our program once we have ensured it is capable of sustainment.

HOCVA (Healthcare in Our Community – the VA):  Awaiting to hear from Lehigh Valley Hospital Network, a member organization, of any success from their efforts to  assist the Wilkes-Barre VAMC network, which serves 17 other counties in addition to our own.

VA Vet Center:  The VA is not planning to add any more vet centers in the nation this fiscal year – to our detriment. We will work on stopgap measures.  Relying on the Scranton Vet Center is not enough.

Local Fundraising:  The Ashly Moyer 5K Race for Freedom  is now sponsored by LVMAC.  The event will in September in the Lehigh Parkway. More later.   Bob Faro meet in March with them and  is trying to settle on an event with LV Yankees Fan Club.

Veterans Information and Assistance Program: Our new website and a modified blogsite are now up and running.  Improvements are ongoing. Looking for a website wiz to help us maintain. If you are a member organization and interested in linking to our website, let us know.  If you have events of interest to us, send the information to the admin office. The website or blogsite tells you how.

Next speaker will be Dr. Margot O’Donnell, Psychiatrist with the Women’s Health Clinic of the Philadelphia VA Medical Center, an active operation.  Her topic will be “Sisters, Mothers, and Daughters in Uniform; Women Veterans in 2011.”

Governmental Affairs: State budget cuts have not really affected the OVA significantly. The damage had been done earlier.  In fact, there is approximately a $12M increase for improvement of state veterans homes – most of it going towards the modernization of the Southeast (Springfield) vet home in Chester County.  Veterans Homes are really the core or center of weight of state veterans affairs activity currently.

It has been confirmed that State Rep. Barrar, the new Chair of the House VAEP, will speak to us in September.

Next State Veterans Commission meets on 8 April.  Seems BG(PA) Gould has been retained as the Deputy Adjutant General for Veterans Affairs.  We wish him well.

VA News:  See Tidbits on Veteran Homebuyer Tax Credit ending, pending legislation on Full Concurrent Receipt, and Military ID Cards for 100% permanently disabled and their dependents.

16 March 2011