Veteran Community Initiatives. Inc. (VCI)
“Serving Veterans and their families in the Laurel Highlands/Southern
Alleghenies community since 1993”
Tom is the founder, President/Director of Veteran Community Initiatives Inc. (VCI) since 1993. VCI has serviced over 8,900 (veterans, family members of vets, dislocated workers) clients in job search assistance and career counseling in the PA Laurel Highlands.
A United States Army Vietnam Veteran, Tom has been involved with many veteran/ disabled community projects and groups including the Lead Coordinator of the Pennsylvania Disabled Veterans Rehabilitation/Vocational Retraining Project (PDVR/VRP), a comprehensive community program that addresses the needs of returning veterans since 2005.
Tom has been active with many veteran service organizations (VSO’s) as a member of the American Legion VFW, PVA, Conemaugh Valley Veterans, and as former officer/board member with the PA Vietnam Veterans of America State Council and VVA Chapter 364. For over twenty-two (22) years Tom has been visiting and working with veterans incarcerated at SCI Cresson; preparing and serving the Salvation Army Christmas Dinner in Johnstown with other chapter members; establishing scholarship stipends to sons and daughters of Vietnam Era Veterans. An original member of the Conemaugh Valley Veterans, he has been involved in the Veterans Day Parade and Veterans Day Breakfast as well as the 2008 Salute to WW II Veterans Recognition Ceremony. Active in the community and state, Tom (appointed by Governor Rendell) sits on the Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) Board. A former member of the Cambria County Private Industry Council, Cambria County Conservation and Recreation Authority, SKILLS Group Board of Directors, the PAID Board, and the Cambria County Special Olympics Board, Tom currently is on the SCI Cresson Vocational Advisory Board, Van Zandt’s VA Medical Centers Veterans Advisory Council, CERMUSA Advisory Board, Defense Veterans Brain Injury Center – Johnstown as Board Chairman, Penn Highlands Community College/John P. Murtha Scholarship Committee Chairman, and is a member of the Cambria County Business and Education Consortia as well. .
Recent recognition and awards include 1990 VVA Chapter 364 Veteran of the Year, 1994 SCI Cresson Volunteer of the Year, 1997 Cambria County Special Olympics Volunteer of the Year, 2001 “Chapel of the Four Chaplains” Award Honoree, 2005 Pennsylvania VVA “Veteran of the Year,” 2006 PAID “Outstanding Service Award,” 2008 Johnstown Magazine’s “Movers and Shakers” recognition, 2011 Salvation Army ‘Appreciation’ Award. Tom’s employment history includes 25 years in the Human Resources/Labor Relations/Program Management area with large utility organizations.
He is a graduate of the State University of New York at Albany, with a BS in Business Administration. With the help of the GI Bill, Tom was fortunate to receive an MBA in Labor-Management Relations from Pace University. If you have any questions or concerns for Tom please Email him at email@example.com
Amber serves as the administrator of VCI financial database and reporting systems, as well as serving as program support on many key events that VCI offers throughout the year. Amber is a veteran who served in the U.S. Army for nearly eight years- five years on active duty as a Military Police Officer and three years in the Reserves as an Information Technology Specialist. Her background also includes a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown. We are excited to have Amber join the VCI team and with her skills and military experience she will be a real asset to VCI Programs and Services.
Nancy Tavalsky--Case Manager
Nancy will be available to veterans for claims, service connected disabilities, veteran non-service related pensions, windows non-service pensions, aid and attendance benefits, discharge inquiries/upgrades and other veteran related entitlements and issues.
Her office hours presently (effective immediately) will be on Wednesdays from 9:00am-4:00pm. Confirmed reservations/time frames are highly suggested. Nancy can be reached at 814-244-6125 (Wednesday's ONLY). If Nancy is not available please leave a message or contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nancy brings with her a wealth of knowledge, and experience on these subjects, and will prove to be an asset to those who may have difficulty getting to other locations for these services.
Nancy is employed by the Vietnam Veterans of American –(VVA) and is available by appointment on Wednesdays ONLY in the VCI offices.
VCI offers internship programs for local college students to attend. Students can learn about VCI services and programs for veterans and their families, assisting with program support and marketing projects.
Tina Pelesky--Community Relations Director/Program Supervisor for Operation Family Caregiver
Mrs. Pelesky assists veterans and their family members with job searches, professional resume preparation, client screening and career counseling. Mrs. Pelesky was recently promoted to serve as the Program Supervisor and trained coach for Operation Family Caregiver (OFC). She will work with caregivers and family members to support and coach them on how to deal with difficult caregiving tasks, as well as training and promotion of new coaches and currently OFC coaches.
Tina manages the VCI office and supervises staff- she manages student staff from local college internship programs/adult employment programs/CSEP students from Hiram G. Andrews Center. Mrs. Pelesky focuses her energy on building community relationships and knowledge in the field of employment services & mental health awareness programming. She regularly plans veteran outreach programs, career fairs and is actively involved in the logistical planning and development of VCI’s yearly returning veteran symposium and the developing grant funding opportunities and managing financial reports.
She assists with the training and development of the highly successful Cambria County Veterans Court Program. Tina is also actively involved in community projects that honor and assist veterans in the Laurel Highlands region.
She is a 2014 graduate of Geneva College, where she obtained her Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership and Strategic Planning. She received her undergraduate from Mount Aloysius College in Public Relations Administration/Non-Profit Management. She has over 20 year’s extensive experience in fund development, business management, budgeting/finance, communications/marketing, special event planning, and community relations. Tina’s volunteer work including serving with the Greater Johnstown Chamber of Commerce Ambassador, Cambria County Job Fair Committee, Goodwill GoodGuides Peer Mentor, and board member on Southern Alleghenies Workforce and Development Committee. Previously served as board member of Association of Fund Raising Professionals (AFP), Instructor for Junior Achievement, and United Way of the Laurel Highlands-Loaned Executive for Annual Fundraising Campaigns. Tina serves as Missions Chair and on the board at Jennerstown United Methodist Church. If you have questions or concerns for Tina please email her at Peleskyt@atlanticbbn.net
Amber Wilson-- Administrator/Program Support
Mary Heider-- Administrative Assistant
Mary assists with all the administrative duties, as well as scheduling appointments, donor letters, and financial assistance on reports etc. Mary has 20 years experience working in an office setting is great with the veterans and assisting them when they need help.