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New state service is available for veterans

United States Military branch tapes and dog tags on camouflage uniform
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iStockphoto
United States Military branch tapes and dog tags on camouflage uniform

Among the many things Pennsylvania’s Deputy Adjutant General for Veterans Affairs Brigadier General Maureen Weigl oversees is PA VetConnect, a new resource for veterans.

“That is a system that we've created at the Department of Military and Veteran Affairs to help anybody know how to help a veteran whether you have an aunt an uncle or a brother that served that might be struggling," she said.

VetConnect is a state website where veterans or friends and family members of retired service members can access a variety of information. They can find shelters or food banks, the state veterans registry or the Veterans Crisis Line. Information for federal, state and local agencies can also all be found on PA VetConnect.

Weigl said the site serves the fourth largest population of veterans in the nation. Pennsylvania has more than 720,000 veterans, she said.

Weigl, a Dunmore native, joined the military in the 90s. She served for 25 years in both the Army and as a member of the Army National Guard.

"It got to the point in my career, I knew I could do more from the outside than in," she said.

In her role, she works anywhere from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia managing six long-term care nursing homes — including the Gino J. Merli Veterans Center in Scranton — working across state agencies and with private and nonprofit organizations serving veterans.

“We look at the big issues that are plaguing veterans today in Pennsylvania," she said.

Weigl said PA VetConnect has been her big message.

“There are ways that the community can get involved and educate themselves ... not just attending veterans events ... but knowing who all of the community partners are," she said.

Visit www.dmva.pa.gov/veteransaffairs/VetConnect/ for more details.

Kat Bolus is the community reporter for the newly-formed WVIA News Team. She is a former reporter and columnist at The Times-Tribune, a Scrantonian and cat mom.