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Keystone College’s Elmer Hawk ’48 Veterans Center is getting a face-lift thanks to a generous grant from the Student Veterans of America and The Home Depot Foundation.

The Veterans Center has received a $10,000 grant from the two organizations for a variety of improvements, including interior remodeling, improved fixtures, new flooring, and enhanced handicapped accessibility. The donation is part of the Vet Center Initiative, which gives individual SVA chapters a chance to compete for grant money to build or rehabilitate veterans centers on their campuses. Keystone College is an SVA member and therefore was able to compete for the financial award.

“Keystone College is absolutely delighted to receive this generous grant from SVA and The Home Depot Foundation to make these much-needed renovations,” said Veterans Adviser Mark Gowarty. “We are extremely grateful to the SVA and The Home Depot Foundation for giving us the opportunity to serve our veteran students with the best possible facilities and programs.”

As stipulated in the grant, some of the renovations are being completed by Keystone military veteran students and others have been hired contractors. When finished, the center’s main living room and kitchen will be completely renovated and improvements will be made to the counseling office and bathroom.

The Elmer Hawk ’48 Veterans Center, located in Alumni Hall, opened at the start of the 2015 academic year. The Center was made possible through the generosity of the Hawk family of Dunmore in memory of the late Elmer R. Hawk, who was a business student at Keystone in 1947 and 1948 before joining his brother to help build the nationally known company Gertrude Hawk Chocolates.

The Center offers a comfortable and convenient meeting place for this special group of Keystone students who have given so much to their country. Students can meet with each other, complete their school assignments on several new computers, or simply relax, read, visit with friends and family members, or watch television while waiting for their next class. The Center is also the home of the Keystone College Armed Forces Club.

SVA is a non-profit coalition of more than 1,300 student chapters representing 540,000 veterans in higher education across the country. SVA’s mission is to provide military veterans resources, support, and advocacy to ease their transition into higher education and leverage military experience to launch successful careers.

The non-profit Home Depot Foundation works to improve the homes and lives of U.S. military veterans and their families and respond to communities in disaster. Since 2011, The Home Depot Foundation has invested more than $138 million in veterans causes. In 2016, The Home Depot Foundation made a commitment to increase investment in veteran causes to a quarter of a billion dollars by 2020.

Founded in 1868 to educate veterans returning from the Civil War, Keystone has a long and proud history of service to current and former members of the military. The college has been recognized nationally by Military Advanced Education magazine, G.I Jobs Magazine and U.S. News and World Report as one of the best schools in the nation for current or former members of the military.

Photo caption: Gathering to complete renovations to the Keystone College Elmer R. Hawk ’48 Center for Veterans, from left to right are: Agnes Lippi Johnson, Operations Manager at Dickson City Home Depot; Elizabeth Ratchford, Keystone College Director of Grants; Joe Popowycz, Home Depot Home Dickson City Store Manager; Joshua Matulevich, Parliamentarian, Keystone College Armed Forces Club (KCAFC); Mark Gowarty, Adviser KCAFC; Dylan Welch, President, KCAFC; and Amy May, Vice President, KCAFC.