Local expo seeks to connect veterans with services - Titusville Herald: News

Local expo seeks to connect veterans with services

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Posted: Saturday, June 4, 2016 12:15 am

After countless years of veterans and their families being left with no choice but to drive to Erie or Pittsburgh to attend an expo focused on how to serve the needs of veterans, a local expo is being held at Cross Creek Resort, on Wednesday, from 2 to 6 p.m.

According to Lance Hummer, executive director of the Keystone Community Education Council, the idea for the expo came about after several veteran representatives from Crawford, Venango, Mercer, Clarion, Warren, and Forest counties decided to take the things that they had learned from previous expos and put them into action in a more rural setting.

“This is something we hope to do annually. It’s something that’s done in our metropolitan areas on an annual basis, it’s just never been done in this rural area,” Hummer said. “A lot of people don’t want to drive to Pittsburgh, and they don’t want to drive to Erie, so this is a way of providing the service to all of the surrounding rural counties.”

Hummer said there would be more than 50 vendors at the expo, each hoping to assist veterans and their families with whatever needs they have.

Additionally, Hummer said he hopes to learn more about what local veterans need and how they might be able to help them.

“What we’re hoping to do is have follow-up programs, because there are ones that deal with the financial end of it, and financial services that could be available for vets, and we’re just hoping to gain information from the vets that are there as to what other things they would be looking for,” Hummer said.

“We’re hoping that they will fill out the evaluation form that will be available, and we’re just kind of following what has happened at other expos that have been for vets.”

Hummer said he hopes that veterans will take advantage of this opportunity because it has never been available in this area before.

While he said he’s not sure what the turnout will be like, because registration is not required, he anticipates many veterans and their families to be in attendance due to the positive response they have received.

In addition, Hummer said many local American Legions and VFWs have been promoting the event to their members.

Hummer said that in April, a similar expo was held at Cross Creek, focusing on workforce development and human services for veterans, which boasted a good turnout. Hummer hopes this expo will be the same way.

“It’s important that people who are working within that area, within education and within human services, who work with veterans, know where they refer them to, so that they can help them connect with potential veterans benefits that are out there.

“There are multiple benefits programs that are out there, it’s just a matter of figuring out how to refer a vet you’re working with,” Hummer said. “It’s about, how do we support the people who have supported us?”

The event is open to the public, and is free to attend.

Those who need help with transportation can call (814) 676-5840.

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