Staff Sgt. Armando Vasquez 973-460-7316 cell

(29 August, 2012)



Media Advisory


NJ Veterans To Be Honored At Bergen Town Center



WHO: Raymond L. Zawacki, the Deputy Commissioner for Veterans Affairs, and local elected officials will present the New Jersey Distinguished Service Medal and other state military awards to approximately 80 Veterans, mostly from Bergen County.


WHEN: Tuesday, Sept. 4 at 11 a.m.


WHERE: at the Mall’s “Century 21 Court, 1 Bergen Town Center, Paramus, NJ 07652


THE STORY: This ceremony marks the start of a three-day visit of the veterans outreach kiosk from September 4-6, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day. During this outreach event, veterans and their family members can learn more about benefits or entitlements they could be eligible to receive.


The ‘One Mall a Month’ schedule for the Veterans Outreach Program is an effort by the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs to talk one-on-one with veterans or their family members about the wide variety of state and federal veterans benefits.


Last year, only 10 percent of our nation’s veterans receive compensation from the Veterans Administration (VA) for a service-connected disability. Here in New Jersey that number was only eight percent. With approximately 420,000 Veterans in the Garden State, that means there are nearly 30,000 veterans who may not receiving compensation.


The Veterans Outreach Program wants to find these veterans and assist them in filing their claims if they choose to do so. To find out more about this program or your veteran benefits call 1-888-8NJ-VETS (1-888-865-8387).


The N.J. Distinguished Service Medal (NJ DSM) was originally issued in 1858 for those who distinguished themselves in the New Jersey Militia, but was used infrequently until re-authorized by Governor Kean in 1988.  The N.J. DSM was then authorized for that purpose. It is New Jersey’s highest military award.  Since its re-authorization in 1988, more than 30,000 medals have been awarded to combat veterans from New Jersey.


In order to be eligible for the Distinguished Service Medal you must meet all the following criteria: currently be a resident of New Jersey,  have been a resident of New Jersey at the time you entered into military service, have been honorably discharged,  have proof of having served in combat while on active duty during wartime. The DSM can be awarded posthumously to the next-of-kin of a veteran who meets the criteria.


Anyone interested in applying for the New Jersey Distinguished Service Medal should call 1-800-624-0508, Press 7, to request an application.

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