SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU)– At the Recovery Bank in downtown Scranton on Wyoming Avenue, there is a wealth of information and support for those in need.
“Every veteran that comes out goes through some form of recovery. That’s why the recovery bank is here,” said 22-year Army veteran and recovery bank volunteer, Roy Evans.
Since opening in June, the recovery bank has offered free services. For veterans, it’s everything from career assistance to emotional and addiction support. That’s a bit more difficult in some cases.
“Most of the veterans in this area are not recently getting out,” added Evans. “They’ve been out for a number of years. A lot of them, I’d say the majority of them, are senior retirees.”
Along with free programs, the recovery bank has teamed up with the Veterans Resource Coalition, 40 agencies that can help with so many needs within an hour of getting the call.
“I saw a need when veterans were getting out. They were kind of lost with which direction to go and what to do or how to pick up their life. I thought it would be a good thing if there were places that would help them in that direction,” said 28-year Army veteran Shirley Thompson. “We are all connected by an email list. The help that the veteran needs gets put on the list and it filters out to all 40 agencies at the same time and they’ll respond. So, in other words, in the course of an hour, we’ll have a veteran lined up for all of the different services that they need through those different agencies.”
Volunteers within the organization come from different backgrounds and are able to connect on a personal level, even with addiction.
“It’s been a life-long struggle for me,” said Navy veteran Tim Burke, who uses his battle to help impart wisdom to others. “It’s like I just tell them my story. I’ve been through this time and time again. This time it’s different and you just have to keep coming back. That’s the best I can do for them is be a listening ear and tell them how I can relate to what they’re going through.”
The common goal is helping veterans and everyone who reaches out. The first step is that call.
“The first thing is I get to share my experience, my strength, my hope and my faith in God,” said Air Force veteran Jim Noone, who is a volunteer as well as the chaplain for the local veteran’s organization, Veteran’s Promise. “We’re here. This is new and a lot of people don’t know about us. We need to get the word out and get more people to come and get some help.”
At the end of the day, the group working with those who have served is glad to pay their service forward.
“I’m helping friends. I’m helping brothers and sisters in arms. I’m helping another veteran who needs some help,” added Thompson. “I’ve found the way I’m going to be the light for them and show them the way.”