Share This Page

$2,000 gifts benefit homeless vets in Armstrong County

| Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013, 2:17 p.m.
Louis B. Ruediger | Leader Times
Mechling Shakley Veteran Center resident, Phil Cerinara, 61, glances over a 1959 Triumph TR3, owned by Bill Johnson of Kittanning. Members from two local car clubs made a visit to the Meckling Shakley Veterans Center to donate $1,000 each. Wednesday December 4, 2013

SUGARCREEK — Car enthusiasts from two area clubs have teamed up to help lift the spirits of homeless veterans in Armstrong County.

On Wednesday, the Kit-Han-Ne Region of the Antique Automobile Club of America and the Keystone Kruisers each donated $1,000 to the Mechling-Shakley Veterans Center in Cowansville.

“Every Christmas, we pick an organization to give a donation to,” said Bobbi Jensen, president of the Kit-Han-Ne Region club.

“This year, the club voted on (Mechling-Shakley),” she said, adding that the club works closely with Randy Kruze, president of Keystone Kruisers.

The nonprofit residential-treatment facility provides homeless veterans with rehabilitation and support.

Executive Director Sean Taladay said the center's mission is to provide services that build on a person's self-esteem by strengthening all aspects of the individual so they can return to the community as a respected member of society.

The center, which works in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, relies heavily on donations.

“So any perks these guys get is a plus,” Taladay said.

With the recent donation from the car clubs, the center can now afford the up-front cost of installing a satellite system.

“We're working with other organizations to get TVs,” Taladay said, noting that each room will soon have its own television set.

Until now, all 67 male residents have had to gather in one of three common rooms and reach a consensus on what to watch.

Having individual access to television programs within the privacy of their rooms would mean a lot to the residents, Taladay said.

“We're trying to go above and beyond for them,” he said.

Taladay noted that community members, such as those belonging to Kit-Han-Ne Region and Keystone Kruisers, have been very supportive.

“Our community in Armstrong County has just been outstanding in supporting our homeless veterans. We're blessed. We have a great staff — truly awesome individuals work here,” he said.

For those who would like to contribute, the center has a list of future projects to be funded. Those projects include new roofing, updates to shower facilities, the addition of a computer server for computer networking and new windows for the 16 permanent housing units at the facility.

Both car clubs raised the money for the center by hosting cruises throughout the year, Jensen said. Donations are collected at each event, and the clubs pass those funds on to local charities.

Jensen said the clubs are continuing to collect items for the residents at the Mechling-Shakley center, including men's clothing and bedding for twin-sized mattresses.

Brigid Beatty is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-543-1303 or bbeatty@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.