MILITARY & VETERANS AFFAIRS
(8 Apr., 2014)
Jersey Gardens Mall Hosts
Ceremony To Award State’s
Top Military Awards To Veterans
WHO/WHAT: Raymond Zawacki, Deputy Commissioner for Veterans Affairs, New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, will present state military awards to 25 veterans from mostly Hudson (11), Union (4) Bergen (3) and Essex (2) counties. Veterans will be honored at the mall for service in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Operation Desert Storm / Desert Shield and Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom. Air Force Chaplain Brig. Gen. Alphonse Stephenson, director of the National Guard joint chaplaincy at the National Guard Bureau will participate in the presentation of the medals.
WHEN: Tuesday, April 22 at 11 a.m.
WHERE: The Outlet Collection-Jersey Gardens 651 Kapowski Road, Elizabeth, Mall’s Center Court (lower level), and near Banana Republic
THE STORY: This ceremony marks the start of a three-day visit of the veterans outreach kiosk from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day, where veterans and their family members can learn more about benefits or entitlements that 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.
Ten percent of our nation’s veterans receive compensation from the Veterans Administration (VA) for a service-connected disability. Here in New Jersey that number is only eight percent. With more than 425,000 Veterans in the Garden State, that means that there are nearly 8,000 veterans who should be receiving compensation, but are not. 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.
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 1-888-865-8387.
Veterans invited to The Outlet Collection-Jersey Gardens on
April 22, 2014