Veterans Issues to be Discussed at Conference and Town Meeting

Oct 25, 2008

Officials from the state and national Veterans Affairs and the Pennsylvania National Guard will participate in a panel discussion at a Welcome Home Town Meeting as part of the 7th Annual Northeastern US Conference on disAbility at The University of Scranton.

The Town Meeting, open to veterans and the public, free of charge, will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 8, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the Patrick & Margaret DeNaples Center at the Scranton. Ralph Pacinelli, D.Ed., CRC, LPC, retired regional commissioner for the United States Department of Education and a Leahy Faculty Fellow at The University of Scranton, will serve as moderator of the panel discussion.

Panelists include:

  • Brigadier General John L. Gronski, assistant adjutant general, Pennsylvania National Guard and a University of Scranton alumnus.
  • Brigadier General Scott D. Wagner, deputy adjutant general for Veterans Affairs in the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs
  • Ruth Gonzalez, regional representative, Governor’s Veterans Outreach Center
  • C. Gene Molino,associate director, Veterans Administration Medical Center
  • David Ulkoski, team leader, Readjustment Counseling Services Veteran’s Outreach Group
  • Donald A. Rullman, director of Hiram G. Andrews Center, PA/Office of Vocational Rehabilitation

The theme of the Conference being held Oct. 8 and 9 at The University of Scranton is “Veterans, Vocations and Values: Rehabilitation Rallies for Results.” National estimates indicate that there are currently more than 2.8 million disabled veterans in America and more than 30,000 from combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Conference includes four keynote speakers.

David S. Macpherson, M.D., MPH, chief medical officer, VISN4, will describe how our nation has organized through the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide the critical interdisciplinary services and supports for veterans with disabilities and their families.

Juan J. DeRojas, M.D., a veteran of the War against Terror and the Gulf War, and a board-certified general surgeon with an extensive military record, will discuss “From the Front Lines: A Window into the War.”

Richard Pimentel, a Vietnam veteran and nationally renowned expert on disability management, job recruitment, job retention, Americans with Disabilities Act, will offer a powerful keynote presentation highlighting his life story, captured in the movie “The Music Within.”

Ryan Kules, retired US Army Captain and program manager for the Wounded Warrior Project, will discuss his rehabilitation and his transition into the civilian workforce after being injured in Iraq. He will also discuss the Wounded Warrior Project, a nonprofit organization that helps disabled veterans find employment.

Honorary Chairpersons of the Conference are Edward R. Leahy ’68 and Patricia Leahy, director of Governmental Affairs and Public Policy and interim executive director of the National Rehabilitation Association. The conference co-chairs are Lori Bruch, Ed.D., associate professor of Counseling and Human Services at the University, and Dr. Pacinelli.

CVS/pharmacy is a diamond sponsor of the Conference. Additional sponsors are the Office of Equity and Diversity of The University of Scranton, Andrew Brown’s Drug Store, Inc., Lockheed Martin, American Homecare Supply, Inc., Advanced Imaging Specialists and the Center for Professional Training and Development of The University of Scranton.

The cost of the full conference is $120 for professionals, and $40 for veterans, family members and students with identification. Professionals may choose to attend the Wednesday session only for $95, or the Thursday session only for $45. CEU’s are available.

To register online, visit the Web site at Additional information is available on the Website or by calling Dr. Bruch at (570) 941-4308.

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