Fall 2013 Edition NJDMAVA Veterans

About NJ Veteran Journal:
The New Jersey Veteran Journal is an official publication of the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and is intended to serve New Jersey's veterans, their families, friends and concerned individuals and groups. All correspondence should be sent to:

Veteran Journal Editor
PO Box 340
Trenton, NJ 08625-0340

Volunteers are the heart of homes
By Kryn P. Westhoven, New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs

Members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars were among the various groups and individuals who were honored at the volunteer breakfast April 25, 2013, by the Veterans Memorial Home at Paramus. Photo by Kryn P. Westhoven, New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs

Volunteers of the Paramus Veterans Memorial Homes were called the difference in making veterans lives better during the annual volunteer breakfast held at the Holiday Inn in Hasbrouck Heights on April 25.

"The difference is you," said Steven Ferrari, Director of Veterans Health Services, New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.

"In order to lift yourself up, sometimes you need to lift someone else up," added Ferrari as spoke about the selfless service of the volunteers.

Individuals and organizations donated 22,045 hours saving the state more than a half-million dollars in man-hours.

Volunteers conducted 276 bingo games at the Paramus home in 2012 with residents winning more than $82,000 in prizes. "No wonder our residents love bingo," noted Giulia Kirsch, Supervisor of Recreation, Paramus Veterans Memorial Home.

Kirsch added that there are 214 individuals and 225 supporting organizations that volunteer at the home. Besides the usual support to the Home's activity department volunteers can be found assisting in physical therapy, social service or providing clerical support.

In 2012, nearly $98,000 in contributions provided music and other entertainment enhancements to bring joy to the veterans according to Kirsch. The list of items provided range from phone cards, large numbered clocks and tickets for local sporting events; to simpler gestures like holiday cards or platters of cookies, cakes and candy. A total of 42 DVD/19" TV combo and 37 electric wheelchairs or motorized scooters are some of the big ticket items donated to the home last year.

Both Menlo Park and Vineland homes also held recognition events for each facility's volunteers. Adding the 23,000 hours in Menlo and 25,250 hours for Vineland to the Paramus numbers, it is huge financial benefit to the veterans. A total of $1.8 million worth of time was provided through the year.

Vineland led the trio in donations of money and goods with $236,000 for a total of $412,500 for all three homes.

Representatives from the Marine Corps League and the American Legion along with other veteran organizations, groups and individuals who volunteer at the Veterans Memorial Home at Vineland were honored at a luncheon April 24, 2013. Photo by Mark C. Olsen, New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs