TOWANDA BOROUGH — The old Bradford County Bookmobile now has a new purpose — along with a new patriotic look. As the Mobile Veterans Resource Center, it is able to travel throughout Bradford and Sullivan counties in order to connect veterans, who haven’t been able to get to the Bradford County Veterans Affairs office, with the resources they need.
The bus has been repaired and updated with a wrap, new flooring, new walls, comfortable seating, and computer system with mobile internet access to immediately process benefits on behalf of veterans. Thursday morning, Veterans Affairs Director Pete Miller showed it off in front of the Bradford County Courthouse.
In this current fiscal year, Miller said his office handled $2.4 million in claims and compensation.
“I can take this to nursing homes, I can take it to fairs, I can take it to VFWs, legions, wherever,” he said.
The outfitting of the old bookmobile was a community effort, with a $600 donation from the Rome VFW used to do the walls, Rome VFW member Steve Hakes donating the electrical work, Warren Overpeck from Overpeck Flooring providing and installing the new flooring for free, Donnie Allis from C.C. Allis donating the counter top, and the Northern Tier Veterans Group paying for half of the wrapping.
“And all of them are veterans, so that makes it cool,” said Miller. “It’s built by veterans for veterans. It’s repurposed with a purpose, and that is to take care of veterans.”
Repair work was taken care of at the Northern Tier Career Center.
In all, the project cost around $9,000. It was covered with a $3,500 contribution from the county, $3,500 from a state grant, and the remainder made up of the donations.
Miller will soon start promoting a schedule for where the mobile center will be stopping once more stops are locked down. This upcoming Wednesday, Miller and a representative from the Wilkes-Barre VA will be at the VA clinic in Athens Township from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., and then the center will be at the Sayre VFW from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
“I just go out, sit, and if anyone needs help with a claim, a compensation, anything dealing with veterans, I’m here,” he said.