My attendance at the Volunteer Appreciation ceremonies at the three Memorial Homes recently made me reflect on the important contributions that veterans make every day to fellow veterans.
While the Department of Military and Veterans
Affairs provides the bricks and mortar, the nourishment
and healing hands of modern medicine fulfilling
the mandate that is 140 years old, it is the
veterans helping fellow veterans that fill the heart
and soul of the homes. The circle of care that DMAVA
provides is not complete without these wonderful volunteers.
The Veteran Service Organizations are partners in providing the quality
of life that our fellow veterans deserve. A partner that puts the veterans
families minds at ease knowing that their loved one has people actively
participating in their well-being every day.
Veterans groups large and small, from state headquarters to the local
posts, have donated thousands of dollars each year that make life comfortable
for their fellow veterans. One example is the donations from several
organizations that allowed for the purchase of TVs with DVD players
for every room at Veterans Haven.
The list is endless of how the veterans’ organizations have financially
stepped up across the state. From supporting small projects like clock
radios in the homes, to the massive financial effort that will be needed to
construct the World War II Memorial across from the State House in Trenton.
There is a line in the Beatles song “Can’t Buy Me Love” that comes to
mind to describe the generosity of vet groups. “I may not have a lot to give
but what I got I’ll give to you” certainly tells the story about how the service
organizations and veterans in general have reached deep into their pockets
to help our fellow veterans.
Money is a wonderful gift, but time is the gift that is truly priceless.
When it comes to time, veterans spend that resource without limits.
At the memorial homes, in the hearing rooms of the legislature and at
the armories welcoming home our service members from the ongoing
conflict, I see veterans in action. Volunteering their time to make sure
everyone that has worn the uniform receives the recognition and services
due for their sacrifice to this state and nation.
This partnership of DMAVA and the service organizations is a shining
example of public and private entities working together for the greater
“Serving Those Who Served” is the department motto, but it is also
the driving force behind the support that Veterans provide every day.
Stephen G. Abel