VALOR Clinic battles vandalism
LINDA KOEHLER/TIMES NEWS Mark Baylis shows the broken Jonas Hotel sign post that someone destroyed, just one incident of a series of vandalism at the newly formed VALOR Clinic for homeless veterans.
Mark Baylis is stymied. He just can't understand why anyone would want to cause damage to VALOR Clinic in Jonas.
VALOR's co-founder is referring to a series of vandalism incidents that has recently occurred since volunteers began renovating the former Jonas Hotel in July.
First there was flooding on the first floor.
The first time it might have been an accident, but by the second and third time, it was determined someone was opening all the radiators' bleeding valves.
All the carpeting had to be removed and parts of the wood flooring warped and has to be replaced.
Then someone stole all the antiques that came with the building.
A locksmith changed all the locks.
Someone broke the Jonas Hotel outside sign.
The latest is someone shooting BBs at the windows. Four recently installed replacement windows at $200 each were shot and had to be replaced ... again. Another one was an old existing window.
"Some knucklehead is running around doing this chicken poo to the VALOR Clinic Foundation. I have a strong suspicion who it is," Baylis said.
One reason he says that is because when he made a comment to some people about wanting the antiques back, the stolen glassware was returned, left outside on the VALOR Clinic grounds ... all broken in pieces.
Baylis has reported the latest damaged windows incident to the Pennsylvania State Police. They will be investigating and will be making more patrols to the area in the future.
"I'm dismayed by this. The community has come out in such strong support of VALOR," says Baylis.
VALOR Clinic is going to be a program and shelter for homeless veterans that Baylis co-founded with veteran Tony Cross. It is named the Major Paul Syverson Veterans Sanctuary. Each client will go through the program of 90 to 120 days. They will go through counseling and a life skills program, teaching them how to survive on their own, help them get jobs and how to manage a checking account.
What the veterans were trained to do in war doesn't help them to do well in civilian life. VALOR wants to help them make the transition.
VALOR Clinic, locally named the Major Paul Syverson Veterans Sanctuary, will open Oct. 1.
A $150,000 renovation has been possible through the generosity of donations from people and businesses who have come out in a big way to support VALOR.
"We are very aware of how wonderful the community is and we are grateful. They are a blessing and a Godsend. There are hundreds of stories of people's generosity to VALOR. There is so much support for these veterans. That's why this really hurts. Who wants to hurt veterans?"
When Baylis talks about the vandalism, his voice is fraught with frustration.
"This is just mean, malicious and willful. It makes me feel bad because of all the work our volunteers and supporters are doing."
If anyone has any information concerning the vandalism, contact the Pennsylvania State Police at 610-377-4270.
To make a donation or learn more about Valor Clinic, contact 570-994-5188 or email@example.com.