The New York State Senate recently declared June 12 to June 19 as State Veterans’ Homes Week.
As a board member of the Gino J. Merli Veterans Home in Scranton, PA, I have had the privilege of witnessing first hand the services rendered by these homes and their staff. They have difficult jobs, but they each have a higher purpose, rooted in patriotism. That higher purpose motivates them to be great in every patient room, every day.
It is appropriate that a veterans’ home should bear the name of Gino Merli. Merli was a Scranton native and a coal miner’s son who participated with uncommon valor in both the D-Day invasion and the Battle of the Bulge. For his courage in the face of German attacks, he was awarded the Medal of Honor, two Purple Hearts and the Bronze Star. His life was the inspiration behind Tom Brokaw’s book “The Greatest Generation.”
He is emblematic of our veterans and the homes dedicated to serving them.
In addition to the Gino Merli home in Scranton, the Commonwealth also operates veterans’ homes in Erie, Hollidaysburg, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Spring City—all working to serve our greatest generation, and each following generation preserved by their sacrifices.
The workers in the state’s six veterans’ homes care for the ill and disabled, and those with specialized needs, optimizing their independence and preserving the dignity they so richly deserve. They faithfully serve veterans who are unable to afford private care but who are ineligible for assistance from either Medicaid or the federal Department of Veterans Affairs.
These homes play a valuable role in our spectrum of veterans’ services, from those first days after discharge to the final days of their heroic lives and beyond.
As we honor our veterans’ homes and the brave soldiers, sailors and airmen cared for within their halls, I encourage everyone to visit a veteran and thank a hero.
Senator Lisa Baker
20th District, Pennsylvania