SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – Lackawanna County will soon need a new director for its veterans affairs office.
After ten years in the position, Bob Tuffy of Dunmore has decided to retire.
Tuffy spent Tuesday working on his budget proposal for next year even though he won’t be here to see the final result.
The 82-year-old head of the Lackawanna County Veterans Affairs Office has decided to retire.
“I have to be careful because I choke up a little bit. That is how important it is to me. It means so much to me!” Tuffy told Eyewitness News.
A former Marine, Tuffy also spent 33 years at the Tobyhanna Army Depot before Lackawanna County approached him to re-work its Veterans Affairs Office in 2007.
When he started, the office only helped area veterans get a total of $28,000 a year total back in benefits.
Now, that number surpasses $3.5 million dollars annually.
“Without him, we wouldn’t have been able to do what we’ve done!” Veterans’ Service Officer Anissa Akulonis said.
There are only three other employees in the Veterans Affairs Department.
They call Bob Tuffy their quiet, motivated leader.
“It’s not just I, I, I, it’s teamwork, if you stick together and get the job done as a team, look where we are today!” Veterans’ Service Officer David Eisele said.
“Of all my years of working, I never had an individual as nice as Bob,” Veterans’ Office Assistant Steuart Bailey said.
Over the last decade, Bob Tuffy also worked with area communities to re-furbish and re-paint memorial tanks and make sure every veterans grave is honored with a flag.
He also made sure his staff wasn’t office-bound but actually went out into the homes of veterans.
“We decided that no matter who comes through the doors, we’re going to help them and that was important!” Bob Tuffy said.
Tuffy’s final day on the job will be next Friday, September 1.
In his retirement, Bob Tuffy says he will spend more time with his children and three grandchildren.
At this point, there is no word on who might replace him as Lackawanna County Veterans Affairs Director.