Return The Favor: Forum to discuss services for veterans

There are 22,000 veterans in Dauphin County. Many of them could be eligible for benefits they may not even know they have. This month, Dauphin County wants to help.

The commissioners are hosting a free forum for veterans. It will include information on federal, state, and county veteran and dependent benefits.

Tony DiFrancesco spent more than a decade in the Navy and is now with Dauphin County Veterans Affairs. He says it’s important for vets to know the options they have.

“The older people do not ask for help. That’s just the way it is,” he said, “There are benefits there for each and every veteran.”

Also during the forum, veterans will be able to pick up the new Dauphin County Veterans Discount Card. It allows vets to save money at several local restaurants and other businesses. The program launched in May. So far, it’s been a success.

“We’ve had over 300 veterans take advantage of this appreciation card to date and we’re so thankful for them,” Commissioner Mike Pries said. “We’re here to provide another 300 or 3,000, if necessary.”

The goal of the forum is simple. There’s help out there for veterans, and they shouldn’t feel bad asking for it.

“Our veterans have given their most prized personal treasure: years of their life defending this great nation,” Pries said, “It’s the least we can do to give back to them.”

“The individual that’s walking around that did his time, served his country – you have benefits, apply for them,” DiFrancesco said.

The free veterans forum and breakfast is Thursday, Sept. 28 from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the Halifax Area Ambulance and Rescue Association on Bunker Road.

The building can hold 300 people. Organizers expect a full house. If you’re interested in the discount card program, you must bring your DD-214 paperwork. You can get a card printed for you right there on the spot.

For more information about Dauphin County services for veterans, visit www.dauphincounty.org

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