The Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) is headquartered in Lebanon County, but its ability to reach the state’s nearly 800,000 veterans and their families extends to every county across the commonwealth thanks to its two Mobile Veterans Outreach Vans.
“The vans allow us to reach deep into any community in Pennsylvania to provide personal, one-on-one assistance to veterans so they can learn about and apply for the benefits they have earned thanks to their service,” said Maj. Gen. Tony Carrelli, Pennsylvania’s adjutant general and head of the DMVA. “People will see us anywhere from shopping centers to county fairs. Earlier this month one of our vans was set up at the Pennsylvania Farm Show in Harrisburg, allowing us to meet and assist more than 600 veterans and family members in one week.”
Staffed with accredited Veterans Service Officers, each wheelchair-accessible van is a convenient resource to learn about a wide range of federal, state and county benefits available to qualified veterans and their families. Such benefits might include connected disability compensation, pensions, VA health care benefits, burial benefits, education benefits, vocational rehabilitation, DMVA’s six long-term care facilities, and much more.
In 2018, the vans traveled to 107 events across the state and DMVA staff interacted with more than 1,500 veterans. DMVA’s outreach staff coordinates each event with county directors of veterans affairs, veteran service organizations and local and state officials to maximize publicity and attendance.