Erie VA Medical Center In Need of Donations

A list of items needed by veterans using the Erie VA was recently released. One of the most asked for items is gas cards. Some veterans are scheduled for regular weekly or bi-weekly therapy sessions or medical office visits for treatments such as dialysis or chemo, and don’t have the financial means to drive to those frequent appointments. DAV transportation is used when possible. Also the VA has created an Amazon Wish List, to help support their Community Living Center for Veteran residents, and veterans participating in many other programs at the VA. The list includes over 34 items that are needed, from slow cookers to cleaning products. The link is This method makes donating easier by simply purchasing online and having the items shipped directly to the medical center. For more information, call (814) 860-2454 and speak with Karen O’Neal. Normally many clubs and organizations like the VFW’s, American Legions, Elks, Moose, and many others, help regularly with donations but the current pandemic has hurt them.

VFW Testifies at House Subcommittee Hearing

On Thursday, VFW National Legislative Service Deputy Director Matthew Doyle testified at a hearing hosted by the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs. The bills discussed covered issues regarding burial benefits, life insurance, and reinstatement of the 48-hour rule. At the hearing, Doyle stated, “We cannot stress enough how important 48-hour review is for the timely and accurate delivery of veterans’ benefits. It became so ingrained in the disability claims process, both paper-based and digital, that it is difficult to imagine what the future of veterans claims will look like without it. Accordingly, we strongly urge the passage of H.R. 7443, to reinstate 48-hour review.”

VA Offers Debt Relief to Veterans Through 2020

VA announced its commitment to extend debt relief through the end of 2020 to veterans adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. VA is suspending all actions on veteran debts under the jurisdiction of the Treasury Department. This includes the suspension of collection action or extending repayment terms on pre-existing VA debts, whichever the veteran prefers. For benefit debts, veterans should contact the VA Debt Management Center at (800) 827-0648. For health care debts, veterans should contact the Health Resource Center at (866) 400-1238 or visit

POW/MIA Update

Marine Corps Reserve Pfc. John E. Gillen, 20, of Champaign, Illinois, was a member of Company D, 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force, which landed against stiff Japanese resistance on the small island of Betio. Gillen died on the third day of battle, Nov. 22, 1943. Gillen will be buried Aug. 12, 2020, in his hometown.

Air Force 1st Lt. Alva R. Krogman, 25, was a pilot assigned to the 504th Tactical Air Support Group, 7th Air Force, on temporary duty with the 23rd Tactical Air Support Squadron operating out of Nakhon Phanom Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand. On Jan. 17, 1967, he was flying an O1-F Birddog aircraft as part of a flight of two planes. He was never recovered and was declared killed in action. Interment services are pending.

Till next week, praying for all.


– Charles Castelluccio