A Veteran With A Deep Desire to Help Other Veterans


Michelle, a veteran with a deep desire to serve other veterans, arrived at Mary Walker House with a plan to work at the VA. Traci DeCarlo, VMC job developer, reviewed her résumé and connected her with the VA HR Department. Michelle and Traci were persistent in their shared goal and success came to fruition when Michelle was hired by the Coatesville VA Medical Center. 


Now that's what we call making your dreams a reality! We wish you the best, Michelle!

Lansdale community walks to support Pennsylvania veterans


By Victoria Wolk


More than 1,000 community members arrived at Trinity Lutheran Church for Lansdale’s third annual Hero Walk June 13. The event is part of the PA Hero Walk, a 320-mile walk across the state to raise money for veterans’ organizations.

The PA Hero Walk began six years ago when a dozen volunteers walked from Philadelphia to New Kensington, just outside of Pittsburgh, raising $60,000 for the Wounded Warrior Project along the way. One of those volunteers was Michael Bishop “Bish” Rieg, who has participated in the walk each year since. Three years ago, he brought the Hero Walk to Lansdale.

This year, the proceeds of the PA Hero Walk will no longer be going to the Wounded Warrior Project, said the event’s founder, Al Pulice.

“We’re going to keep the money right here in Pennsylvania,” he said.

The money will be distributed to organizations across the state, including the Veterans Multi-Service Center in Philadelphia, the Semper Fi Outdoor Odyssey in Boswell, the Mechling-Shakley Veterans Center in Cowansville, the Wounded Warrior Patrol in Carlisle and Operation Homefront, according to the PA Hero Walk’s website.

Before the local walk kicked off, participants heard from United States Army Sgt. John Fleming, a local Iraq War veteran who is now retired.

Fleming first joined the Army when he was younger, and he was inspired to re-enlist after 9/11. Coming from an older generation, he was a bit hesitant to work alongside a much younger group of soldiers.

“We had long hair when I was a kid,” he said, “but the kids today, with baggy pants — I thought, ‘God forbid we go to war, who’s going to fight?’ But I will tell you that I would soon eat those words. ... This younger generation really made me proud to be an American again.”

During his second tour in Iraq, “things were out of control,” Fleming said. There were 83 soldiers killed in action and another 350 wounded. As hard as it was for him to witness that kind of suffering, he said, it was much worse for the younger soldiers. “When you’re 19 or 20-years-old and you lose somebody, it’s violent.”

When Fleming was first training for that tour, he was in barracks with a group of younger soldiers who were “noisy as hell” at night,” he said. “When we came home to the same base, the first night it was dead silent. ... Every night there was a guy having a nightmare, falling out of his bunk.” There were two suicides in Fleming’s platoon alone.


“I think we owe these kids to do the best we can,” he said, referencing the recent troubles with the VA. But it’s not just Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who need help. “The Vietnam vets got nothing and were left to figure it out on their own,” Fleming said. Although the VA doesn’t track the number of veterans who commit suicide, he explained, many of them fought in Vietnam.

After Fleming spoke about his experiences in the Army, the walkers heard from Pulice, who founded the PA Hero Walk in 2009. He thanked them for supporting veterans for the past three years.

“You’re out to do something today, to make a change in your country,” he said.

The following day, Pulice, Rieg and a small group of walkers began their 320-mile journey across the state, which will take them two weeks to complete.

Karim Mifflin - A Success Story

Karim Mifflin is a 54 year old United States Army Veteran who faced chronic homelessness and various physical and mental disabilities. He was living in a house without hot water, gas, or electricity: living conditions not meant or human habitation. In July, 2013 he came to the Perimeter at the Veterans Multi-Service Center for a meal and shelter from the heat. Here is where he found the support he needed, and with the assistance of his social worker, applied for Veteran benefits and the Supportive Housing Program (SHP).


            About a month after applying for housing, Mr. Mifflin was accepted in the SHP program. On January 15, 2014, Mr. Mifflin signed a lease for his own one-bedroom apartment in West Philadelphia. Without an income, he was unable to furnish his apartment, so a SHP case manager referred him to the Perimeter Coordinator to apply for a bed. His case manager and social worker provided Mr. Mifflin with kitchen utensils, a pillow, a blanked, personal hygiene items, and cleaning supplies from donation collected at the VMC.



            With the assistance of the VMC and SHP, Mr. Karim Mifflin secured permanent housing, furniture, and gained peace of mind. The VMC is currently helping Mr. Mifflin secure a job where he can work from the comfort of his new home.



The Veteran Multi-Service Center wishes Mr. Mifflin the best of luck, and we will continue to support him in his future success!

First Annual Bridge to Opportunity 5K Run/Walk

“Bridge to Opportunity” 5K Aims to Provide

Local Veterans with Employment Opportunities

First Annual 5K Run/Walk to be held over the Ben Franklin Bridge for VMC Job Development Program



WHO:             Veterans Multi-Service Center to host Bridge to Opportunity 5K Run/ Walk all proceeds to benefit The Veterans Multi-Service Center job development program. Tim Meserve, Executive Director of the Veterans Multi-Service Center will join Philadelphia Phanatic and Sixers Cheerleaders to kick-off event.



WHAT:           The Bridge to Opportunity is a 3.1 mile run/walk that will begin at the Philadelphia South side entrance of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge Center and continue to the Camden side where runners/walkers will then loop around and return to Philadelphia.



                        The Veterans Multi-Service Center, along with family, friends and community supporters will participate. Adults, children of all ages, as well as leashed pets are invited to join in the run/walk, even stroll at their own pace.


There are roughly 88,000 Veterans living in Philadelphia, with service spanning World War II until the present, including men and a growing percentage of women. The Bridge to Opportunity 5K is part of a series of events that honor 2014 as the “Year of the Veteran” in Philadelphia.



For over 30 years, the Veterans Multi-Service Center has worked to address the ever-changing needs of the Veteran community. It is the only non-profit in the Philadelphia area that offers a comprehensive resource center available to all Veterans in need. The organization’s goal is to effectively transition Veterans back into civilian life, while providing the necessary tools to achieve their personal success.


                        Every year the Veterans Multi-Service Center,

·    Assists 300+ veterans in securing jobs

·    Enrolls 200 veterans in training

·    Serves 2500 individual veterans in need

·    Helps 350+ veterans file for VA benefits

·    Places 250+ veterans in homes

·    Provides 172,000 meals to veterans


WHEN:          Saturday, May 10, 2014

9:00 a.m. Registration opens

10:00 a.m. Run/Walk kicks off

12:00 p.m. Award Ceremony


WHERE:        Benjamin Franklin Bridge Entrance

4th & Florist Streets

Philadelphia, PA 19106


REGISTER:   For more information and to register, visit:


Or call (215) 923-VETS


FEE:               Participants                             $35


About the Veterans Multi-Service Center (VMC): The organization exists solely to “serve those who served” this great nation, our veterans. We are the only non-profit agency in the Philadelphia and surrounding areas that provides a comprehensive resource center available to all Veterans in need. For more information visit www.VMCenter.org

City Council Declares 2014 “Year of the Veteran” in Philadelphia


Photo from left: Councilman David Oh, Executive Director of the VMC Tim Meserve, Director of Philadelphia VA Medical Center Daniel Hendee, Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, CEO of the National Liberty Museum Gwen Borowsky, and
Councilman Mark Squilla. (credit: Dan Wing)

Photo from left: Councilman David Oh, Executive Director of the VMC Tim Meserve, Director of Philadelphia VA Medical Center Daniel Hendee, Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, CEO of the National Liberty Museum Gwen Borowsky, and
Councilman Mark Squilla. (credit: Dan Wing)


By Dan Wing


PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — City Council has declared 2014 as the “Year of the Veteran” in Philadelphia, aimed at helping, highlighting, and supporting Veterans. Sunday night, three members of the City Council joined the leaders of area Veterans’ Agencies for a kick off ceremony at the National Liberty Museum.


Proposed by Council members David Oh, Mark Squilla, and Jannie Blackwell, the idea behind the year of the veteran is to make sure that Veterans are getting access to the services they need, and to make sure those services are also being supported by the city. Councilman Oh says it’s important for governments to take a step back, and make sure they’re giving our nation’s veterans everything they deserve.


“Freedom is not free, comes at a terrible price, and for those that pay that price on all our behalves, we certainly should never shirk from out duties in honoring, remembering, and ensuring that we remember those now, in the past, and in the future,” Oh said.


Councilman Squilla says it’s sad to see some veterans suffer, and that these men and women deserve much more.


“We have a lot of people suffering that were veterans. That come back, they don’t have a place to stay, they don’t have a place to live, they don’t even have anything to eat. And it’s up to us to care of them. They gave their lives for us. They gave their time, and their duty, and it’s up to us to make sure that we take care of them,” Squilla said.


Two of the biggest events to mark the year of the veteran will be the first annual 5k “Bridge to Opportunity” Run over the Ben Franklin Bridge on May 10th, and the Veterans Wheelchair Games in August, which usually draws more than 600 competitors. Many more events will be coordinated with the One Book, One Philadelphia program, which aims to get all Philadelphians to read and discuss the same book. The book chosen for this year is “The Yellow Birds” by Kevin Powers, which gives a very honest view of war and the return home from an Iraq War Veteran.


More information about all of the “Year of the Veteran” events can be found on the Veterans Multi-Service Center’s website www.VMCenter.org.

Anonymous - Philadelphia, PA

"I am the wife of a Viet Nam Veteran. My husband started going to PVMSEC 10 years ago for help. No mere words could ever express how much his life and in turn our family life has changed for the better in those years. I am and always will be grateful for the wonderful care he has received at the Philadelphia Veterans Multi-Service Center & Education Center."

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