Speaker:  On 15 June, Paul Hoffecker, founder and CEO of Renovating Hope (, spoke to the Council on the topic of “Renovating Hope … Finding a Better Way” and of his organization’s ambitions.

About three years ago he was asked to help a veteran in fixing his home. Shortly afterwards, ten more requests followed.  From this experience Renovating Hope, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization was born.

Renovating Hope is not an “Extreme Makeover” giveaway program [editor’s comment].  Instead it provides basic housing rehabilitation services (roofing repairs, plumbing, electrical and HVAC/ appliance purchases and installations, and the like) to those who are or have given military service and are in immediate need and in financial difficulty (and the widows of KIA). Those to receive the offer of help must first demonstrate they have been unsuccessful, after sincere effort, in securing sufficient funds to hire help and/or to effect the repairs to their homes themselves.

Renovating Hope is also about community working together to solve problems. It is an alliance between contractors (typically members of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry) and suppliers and those being helped under the thoughtful guidance and negotiating power of Renovating Hope.



Speaker:  Mr. Stephen Lew, the Army Wounded Warrior (AW2) Program’s Advocate (contractor) for our region spoke to the Council at its 18 May meeting, explaining the program and his role within it.

Not to be confused with the Wounded Warrior Project, a nonprofit organization, AW2  is “the official Army program that serves the severely wounded, ill, and injured soldiers, veterans, and their families, wherever located and for as long as it takes” – even a lifetime if necessary. It was created in 2004 as part Army Medical Command’s response to a critical need to transform outpatient care and services. (more…)

LVMAC Tidbits

Avoiding Foreclosure

Since at least 2008, veterans defaulting on their mortgages has been a concern.  Unlike several other states, Pennsylvania has no special home loan programs to assist.  However, for veterans there is possible recourse through a service offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Cleveland Regional Loan Center (in the Cleveland Regional Office) for those of us who live in the Lehigh Valley. (more…)


Speaker:  Dr. Margot O’Donnell, a Pyschiatrist with Philadelphia VA Medical Center’s Women’s Clinic spoke on women in the military.  Overall, women now comprise 9-11% of the military service (in the Active Components it is 14%) and 90% of positions are available to them.  There are also 250,000 female veterans nowadays and the number is growing and compared to the general population of veterans is growing and getting younger. This presents new challenges for the VA.



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 (more…)


Veterans Diversion Courts: The Veterans Affairs Committee is looking into Veterans Diversion Courts at this time. It has observed what has gone on in Philadelphia and notes that there are now such courts in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Lackawanna Counties of this state. It is going to start off by getting a speaker or two on the subject to come to a council meeting so the council and our community have a better understanding of what it is about and what is involved. It’s not a parole program. It has to do with steering a life back before prison time, not after. Judges, attorneys, mental health professionals, the VA, police, and others must all be involved to make it successful.

Scholarship Program: The scholarship program has been revamped as was reported at the last council meeting. It’s a major overhaul of the program to keep up with the changing times. If we guessed wrongly, we will readjust, but currently there is renewed emphasis on veterans seeking employment and their children plus those willing to make an active duty service commitment while in college (ROTC). A new business plan has been developed and a new brochure and application forms have been created. The new scholarship committee will meet 22 February to start off the new cycle. See LVMAC Scholarship Program Brochure .

Homelessness: The VA Summit at the Allentown Clinic was cancelled …