Assistance offered at Mobile Vet Center

US Marine Corps veteran Rich Osborn, VFW Post Commander John Miner and Rep. Sandra Major visited the Mobile Vet Center at its first visit to the Montrose area on Monday, April 23. The MVC was available to assist veterans in the Price Chopper parking lot. STAFF PHOTO/STACI WILSON

BY STACI WILSON

When the Mobile Vet Center rolled into the Price Chopper parking lot Monday morning, about 20 people were already waiting to take advantage of the services offered. Within the first hour, about 50 veterans came to the MVC.

Joseph May, MVC Counselor, said the primary focus of the mobile center is to provide counseling services to veterans in underserved communities.

The center is equipped with privacy rooms and trained counselors who meet with veterans, many dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, May said.

Viet Namveterans are now realizing they can get services. “We try to bring the VA to them,” May said. “People are coming forward. They’ve taken the first step to make contact.”

Gretchen Bentler, MVC outreach worker, said, “Our main goal is to provide counseling for combat veterans.”

In addition to the counseling services, the MVC also acts as an outreach center helping veterans and their families navigate the healthcare system, as well as its required paperwork.

Rep. Sandra Major worked with Veterans Affairs to bring the MVC toSusquehannaCountyonce a month. For the past two years, the program has been successful inWyomingCounty, she said.

Major said that many veterans had to travel to receive the services provided at the MVC. “We have a large population of veterans inPennsylvania, especially up here in the northeast region, who will benefit from having these valuable services offered locally,” she said.

Major was on hand Monday morning, despite the cold and rain, greeting veterans at the center and was pleased with the turnout.

“It’s not a problem being here in the weather for the veterans. Our vets serve in rain and snow,” she said.

Susquehanna County Veterans Affairs director Thomas Yadlosky Jr. was also pleased the MVC came to the area.

“It helps bring in vets who need assistance,” Yadlosky said.

Although the county has an active Veterans Affairs department, Yadlosky said, “I still find guys who don’t know we’re there. (The MVC) helps improve access for the local veterans.”

Staff Sgt. Shannon Beatty, a recruiter for the U.S. Army in Montrose, said veterans often stop by the office for information. She, like Major and Yadlosky, was also glad to see the MVC in the area.

Janice Gavern, who served 26 years in the Air Force and Air Force Reserve, stopped by just to check out the center. Gavern is a member of American Legion Post 154.

The MVC is fully handicap accessible with a wheelchair lift. It is also equipped with satellite communications and internet service; video conferencing and tele-health capabilities; and flat screen television for training and educational videos; as well as the privacy rooms for counseling sessions.

For more information about the MobileVet Centers and the services provided, visit www.va.gov or RepMajor.com