Harkins, Merski: $12,000 awarded to bolster Erie veterans’ programs

ERIE, Dec. 13 – Newly awarded funding of $12,000 will strengthen key programs for Erie veterans, state Reps. Pat Harkins and Bob Merski announced today.

The lawmakers, both D-Erie, said the grants from the state Veterans’ Trust Fund includes $10,000 to the Warriors to Washington Program and another $2,000 to the Erie County Office of Veterans Affairs to support the county’s veterans’ courts. 

“The Warriors to Washington program offers a terrific way to back to those who served by allowing veterans to travel to the U.S. Capitol and tour Arlington Cemetery and monuments like the Vietnam and WWII memorials,” Harkins said. “The trips are therapeutic, provide opportunities for veterans to bond and remind them of all that came from their service. Securing additional funding will help ensure the program can continue locally.”

Merski said the funding to the veterans’ courts strengthen an important justice resource.

“Service comes with costs, and frequently, those include post-traumatic stress and other conditions that can lead to substance abuse and other problems,” Merski said. “By providing mentoring, support and supervision, veterans courts provide those who served with an alternative to incarceration that can lead them back to productive lives. Today’s funding is going to boost those vital services.”

The Veterans Trust Fund is supported by Pennsylvanians who donate $5 when applying for or renewing their driver’s license, photo ID or a motor vehicle registration. Additionally, the VTF receives proceeds from the sale of the “Honoring Our Veterans” and “Honoring our Women Veterans” license plates and from private donations.

More about the funding is available here: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/gov-wolf-announces-1-35-million-in-veterans-trust-fund-awards/.