Ribbon-cutting ceremony held for the Patriot Resource Center at Marywood


Photo credit/ Ellen Frantz

Marywood President Sr. Mary Persico, IHM, Ed.D joins Founder of the Jarett Yoder Foundation Diane Yoder at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Patriot Resource Center.

Briana Ryan, Editor-in-Chief

Community members gathered at the former Scranton State School for the Deaf (SSSD) today for a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Patriot Resource Center at Marywood.

The center will be developed by the Jarett Yoder Foundation, which purchased the property from Marywood University for an undisclosed amount. The center will serve as a space to offer various resources to military members, veterans and first responders. One of these resources will include counseling services from Valhalla Veterans Services.

Diane Yoder established the foundation in honor of her son Jarett, a member of the Pennsylvania National Guard, who was killed while serving in Afghanistan. Yoder explained that she is grateful for the community support of the center.

“The community was just fantastic in embracing us,” said Yoder. “We went to the Dunmore Council meeting last night, and they were fantastic. They couldn’t be any better.”

An honor guard was present at the ceremony to conduct a 21-gun salute. Additionally, the foundation offered tours of some of the nine buildings that sit on the property’s 9.5 acres of land. Yoder noted that the foundation decided to hold the tours to promote transparency.

“We don’t believe in hiding anything,” said Yoder. “We want them to see the damage and the work that we have ahead.”

Community members were also on hand to deliver speeches, songs and prayers. Pennsylvania State Representatives Karen Boback, Marty Flynn and Kyle Mullins spoke at the ceremony. Scranton Mayor Paige Cognetti was also on hand to deliver remarks. Cognetti said she is looking forward to seeing the property used to support veterans.

“As we’ve come through this pandemic, we’ve seen the great need for mental health resources, especially for the veteran population,” said Cognetti. “Having this center right in the heart of Scranton and right next to Marywood will be tremendous.”

The university purchased the property in 2011 for $500,000. However, the university placed the property on 1800 N. Washington Ave. back on the market in 2015.

According to university President Sr. Mary Persico, IHM, Ed.D, the property was viewed by over 300 prospective buyers. One of these prospective buyers was The Urban Smart Growth company who decided against buying the property after struggling to acquire variances from the Scranton Zoning Board.

Most recently, Jessica Lark inquired about turning the property into an art school and retreat. However, Persico explained that she believes Yoder is the right person to bring the property back to life.

“I just felt that this was meant to be. We waited so long for this moment,” Persico. “And finally, a buyer came along who seemed to be just the right fit.”

Yoder explained that she is looking forward to working with the local community.

“We are a community. Tell us what you want done,” said Yoder. “This is for all of us.”

Ellen Frantz contributed to this story.

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