Veterans Voices: Disabled veteran outreach programs

Veterans Voices

SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Many disabled veterans don’t realize they’re entitled to financial assistance from Uncle Sam and when they do, the red tape can be intimidating.

But one local veteran’s story has a happy ending.

On this week’s Veterans Voices, a veteran in need of a job and an organization that pulled together the resources to make it happen.

As former Navy man, Richard Leo Via pours over his scrapbook, the memories of his short time in Vietnam come flooding back. That was in 1964-65.

The Tamaqua native says he developed hearing issues because of the gunfire on deck and later kidney problems, he believes, because of agent orange blown from land onto his ship.

But as a blue water Navy veteran, Leo Via is entitled to both health and employment benefits. The paperwork, he admits, was intimidating, but he had an advocate to walk him through it.

“It was a nightmare. Because I didn’t know what to do. But if I needed something done I’d call Roy. He would make an appointment and we’ll work it out. He was a lifesaver,” said Navy Veteran, Richard Leo Via.

“Roy” is Roy Evans, a Disabled Veterans Outreach Program Specialist and former Army Major with Lackawanna County.

Evans helped Leo Via apply for a VA Medical Card. secure pension money and fund a renovation of his bathroom to help with his disability.

And if that wasn’t enough, Evans helped Leo Via update his resume and found him a job with a bus transportation company in Dunmore.

Evans says many disabled vets have no idea they’re eligible for so many benefits.

“I’ve had vets come in here that have been out of the war zone for 50 years and they don’t know what benefits are available through this office. Not only employment benefits, we help them with disability benefits and we help them lead better lives”.

Leo Via says it couldn’t have come at a better time. He’d been looking for a job for a year and a half. And more good news, Evans says NEPA companies are hiring more veterans.

And Richard Leo Via says he’s just happy a fellow veteran was there to help out.

“He bends over backward for the veterans. Not too many people who will do that. They say oh leave them go, be homeless, but Roy isn’t that way,” Leo Via said.

To find out more about the numerous amount of benefits for veterans and how to apply for them contact Rick Evans at royevan@pa.gov or by phot at 570-963-4723; ext: 3020.

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