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Volunteers needed to transport veterans

Published April 01. 2011 05:00PM

Carbon County is in need of volunteers to transport area veterans to and from medical visits.

During the county commissioners' meeting on Thursday, Henry Desrosiers, director of Carbon County Veterans Affairs, announced that he received word from the Disabled American Veterans on Wednesday that the county will receive a seven or 12-passenger van to take veterans to their doctors appointments in Wilkes-Barre or Allentown.

Getting this transportation in the county has been in the works for the last two and a half years.

Desrosiers added that as of right now, he does not have any volunteers who are registered to drive the van.

He is asking the community's help to build a volunteer force who would be available to drive the van at least once a month.

"I would love to have 15 to 20 volunteers," he said, adding that it takes about three to four months to become registered for the volunteer driving position.

If anyone wishes to become a volunteer driver, Desrosiers asks that they call his office at (570) 325-3986, between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

"I want to get a list of volunteers so we can start getting this van in service."

The commissioners also commended Desrosiers on his service to the veterans in Carbon County.

Commissioner William O'Gurek, chairman, reported that the Carbon Veterans Affairs office has brought in nearly $1.5 million in veterans benefits over the fiscal year.

"It speaks volumes to the work that you are doing," he said, adding that Carbon County is ranked ninth out of 40 veteran affairs offices in the state. "We outperform in terms of getting things for our veterans."

Commissioners Charles Getz and Wayne Nothstein, echoed O'Gurek's thoughts, saying that they are proud of the work that Desrosiers and Bonnie Gawlik do in that office.

Getz noted that Desrosiers will go to a veteran's home if he or she cannot make it to his office.

In other matters, O'Gurek spoke about a story that was published in Monday's edition of the TIMES NEWS.

In that story, it announced that Palmerton native, Major Gen. Rhett A. Hernandez, commanding general, U.S. Army Cyber Command, 2nd U.S. Army, was recently promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General. Hernandez is currently stationed at Fort Belvoir, Va.

O'Gurek said that he is proud of Hernandez because it is a great honor to have a Carbon County resident named to an elite group. He noted that Hernandez is one of only 50 three-star generals in the Army.

"I think that this is a tremendous accomplishment, not just for him, but for Carbon County and Palmerton," he said, adding that he would like to invite Hernandez to a commissioners' meeting when he returns home to present him with a proclamation thanking him for his service.

County solicitor Michael Ozalas said he was in contact with Hernandez via email. He said he was a very humble man.

"We're certainly proud that he is from Carbon County," Ozalas said.

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