YOUR SIDE: The Readers Take Over

Disabled veteran speaks his mind about VSC

To the editor:

After reading the most recent article in the paper about the Veterans Service Commission (VSC) demanding more money than it needs to run, I feel the need to put in my two cents.

First let me explain my background. I am a disabled veteran who served during the Vietnam War. I am also a lifetime member of the VFW, the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans and former county commander. So I know about the services veterans need and the best way for them to get those services.

I often use the Veterans Administration for medical care and other services. The VA provides services that are needed by millions of veterans. What many people don’t understand is that the Veterans Service Commission is not the VA. As a matter of fact, almost everything Veterans Service Commission does can be done by any veteran without the SC’s help.

It is fine to have another resource for the veterans who need help, but when the VSC sues the county for more money than it actually needs, they are suing every taxpayer. In the article, the VSC director, Mr. Wain, admitted that they could get through the year with the amount budgeted by the commissioners. The article also states that the VSC usually returns about the same amount of money each year that they would be suing for. This is a waste of time and taxpayers’ money.

The same problem occurred this year and the commissioners ended up fully funding the VSC, just like they promised. Again, time and money was wasted in a lawsuit. Add to all this, the VSC’s request for a new phone system when the commissioners offered them a nearly new one for free. Director Wain has not explained why they should spend extra money on that system.

All this is not activity that is representative to our county’s veterans. Veterans are grown-up leaders. The time has come for the board of the VSC to control its director. Unfortunately, from what I’ve seen I think the board is too comfortable and just lets their director lead them around. It is time for the board to conduct themselves in a manner that is representative of the county veterans and learn to work with others.




Residents can provide holiday cheer through the Salvation Army

To the editor:

We at the Salvation Army want to thank the anonymous donor who placed an American Eagle gold coin into the Red Kettle. The coin was estimated to be worth about $1,200 and was sold to a local jewelry store. The money received from the selling of the coin will be used as the donor had written on a note attached to the coin.

As the winter season jumps into high gear, the snow is falling, the thousands of people in our Salem community are filled with holiday cheer, while thousands more are reaching out to the Salvation Army for food, clothing and other basic needs. To provide these services every year, we rely on donations from our annual Red Kettle campaign. This year, our kettle goal is $46,000 and we are currently at 50 percent of our goal with only a short time left in the giving season.

As commanding officer of the Salvation Army Salem Corps, I see first hand the hope and joy that we provide to so many seniors, single parents, veterans, homeless men and women, and families in need. Last year we provided 5,617 hot meals to the hungry; 1,228 people received Christmas assistance; 1,338 toys and 820 articles of clothing were given to over 300 needy children; 55 households received energy and heating assistance; 718 grocery orders were provided; and 15 young individuals were able to spend a week at a residential Salvation Army camp called Camp Neosa. Over 7,000 individuals received direct social services assistance and programs. All this was directed to people right here in Salem.

I urge my fellow residents to donate to our kettles, make an online donation at www.salvationarmyohio.org or to stop by the Salvation Army Corps at 1249 N. Ellsworth Ave. With a little help from a lot of people we can ensure that we are able to help feed empty stomachs and hungry souls this winter, and all year long.

Thank you for your consideration in helping us and helping others.




Second Harvest Food Bank offers thanks

To the editor:

Second Harvest Food Bank of the Mahoning Valley would like to publicly thank the Arby’s Car Cruise and The Cruisin’ Crew in Columbiana County for their generosity and support.

Over the past two years, they collected and donated $32,866 to food bank member agencies in Columbiana County, including Bethel Food Pantry in Beloit, Oasis Food Pantry in Columbiana, Salvation Army East Liverpool, First Church of Christ East Palestine, St. Patrick Church in Leetonia, Lisbon First United Methodist Church, Community Concerns Abundant Life Fellowship in New Waterford, Salem Salvation Army, Southern Community Center in Salineville and Food For Friends in Winona. All funds raised were placed in the accounts of the 10 food pantries listed above.

The Cruisin’ Crew established their fund at the Salem Community Foundation, a 501(c) 3 organization with the mission to improve the quality of life in Salem and the surrounding area. They closed the account and disbanded the group on Nov. 11, 2017, as many are now retired and some are struggling with serious health conditions. They attempted to find a group or individuals to assume the mission, but to date, no one has stepped forward.

According to Gene Johnson, organizer, The Cruisin’ Crew, they held over 300 events through the years and donated 100 percent of the profits to the various charities. The group provided over 2,000,000 pounds of food for residents of Alliance, North Jackson and the communities of Columbiana County. They also held fundraising events for kidney transplants, cancer research, multiple sclerosis and for victims of vehicle accidents.

Second Harvest Food Bank joins the residents and the recipients of the food in Columbiana County in extending thanks for the hard work, dedication and extreme generosity of the members of The Cruisin’ Crew.

Mr. Johnson said, “The Lord’s work is never done, and I will still find a way to try and do his work by raising money for those folks in need.”

We look forward to continue working with him in this important endeavor.


Resource Development Manager



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