Ebensburg native to lead county veterans services

Philip Rice of Ebensburg took on the role of  director of veterans services for veterans affairs for Cambria County. 

EBENSBURG, Pa. – The Cambria County Veteran Services Office is seeking grant funds to take its services to area libraries.

Philip Rice, director of veterans’ services for Cambria County, said that area counties are eligible for a maximum of $20,000 in grant funding through the Pennsylvania Veterans Trust Fund.

The county is hoping to obtain some of these funds for equipment, brochures, information sheets and program advertising in an effort to bring the office’s resources to veterans who are not digitally connected.

Rice said that veterans often stop by the office in the courthouse with a question or for an appointment, but forget documents, requiring another appointment. He said that this is a problem because many of the county’s veterans are not located near Ebensburg and either need someone to drive them to the courthouse or use public transportation.

“It’s very burdensome on folks, but if folks were able to connect with the internet or have some place in their local area they could go, it would be much less burdensome on them,” Rice said.

The proposed program intends to have the office’s staff travel to libraries in Cambria County on set days for presentations on the office’s offerings, as well as providing other resources for veterans and access to some of the items digitally.

Rice said that exposing the veterans to the resources at the libraries will give them opportunities to look up their questions or requirements for forms without driving into the office.

“What we want to do is we want to get out to the communities that are less served and far away from where we are, use the libraries because that’s a great entry into the world of information, and let veterans know that there may be easier ways to do this,” he said.

Katie Smolen is a reporter with The Tribune-Democrat. Follow her on Twitter @KSmolen1230.

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