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LVHN opens veterans' center in Allentown

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Dr. Brian Nester, president and CEO of Lehigh Valley Health Network, spoke at the dedication of the Dick and Peggy Fleming Military and Veteran Resource/Information Center at the School of Nursing at Lehigh Valley Hospital-17th Street in Allentown. (Contributed)
Dr. Brian Nester, president and CEO of Lehigh Valley Health Network, spoke at the dedication of the Dick and Peggy Fleming Military and Veteran Resource/Information Center at the School of Nursing at Lehigh Valley Hospital-17th Street in Allentown. (Contributed)

The region has a new resource center for veterans courtesy of Lehigh Valley Health Network and The Fleming Foundation.

On Friday, LVHN officials dedicated the Dick and Peggy Fleming Military and Veteran Resource/Information Center at the School of Nursing at Lehigh Valley Hospital-17th St. in Allentown.

The center, dubbed the MAVRIC for its acronym, provides veterans, active military members and their families personal and professional support and resources.

The Fleming Foundation pledged a $2 million gift to fund staffing and capital items for MAVRIC.

“This new resource will link the continuum of services and care for our veterans and military, including the VA [Department of Veterans Affairs], private providers and LVHN, to offer a seamless experience,” Dr. Debbie Salas-Lopez, chief transformation officer at LVHN, said in a statement.

The 11,000-square-foot center is on the first floor of the nursing school and comprises a dozen rooms which provide specialized and certified staff and resources to support current and returned military members and their families, especially those who are being challenged in readjusting to civilian life because of illness, injuries or other difficult circumstances.

The center’s services include:

• A resource room equipped with computer terminals that veterans can use.

• Offices where trained and certified personnel interview, screen, counsel and assist veterans in applying for health insurance, and connect them to medical and legal resources.

• Clothing and personal items.

• A pantry with a variety of food items and emergency, 72-hour meal kits for veterans dealing with immediate hunger needs.

• Community meeting rooms and a coffee lounge for learning, relaxing and socializing.

“At LVHN, we are committed to meeting the unique needs of our veterans, and the MAVRIC takes that commitment to another level,” said Dr. Brian Nester, president and CEO.

The center was established with funding from the Fleming Foundation, an organization founded by longtime LVHN supporters, the late Richard (Dick) and Peggy Fleming, formerly of Zionsville.

Dick Fleming, a World War II veteran, was a retired executive of Air Products and Chemicals and longtime trustee of LVHN who died in 2015. His wife, Peggy, an ardent supporter of LVHN nurses and founder of the Friends of Nursing awards program at LVHN, was a constant companion and source of support. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2002 and died in 2008.

“Dick and Peggy Fleming were great friends of LVHN and pillars of our community,” Nester said.

“Their legacy will be their dedication, generosity and vision for making ours a healthier place to live.”

An oil painting of the Flemings unveiled during the dedication will hang in the center.

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