Fall 2008 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, NJDMAVA/PA, PO Box 340,
Trenton, NJ 08625-0340

VA Announces On-Line Claims Applications

WASHINGTON - The Department of Veterans Affairs announced that on-line applications are now being accepted from veterans, survivors and other claimants filing initial applications for disability compensation, pension, education, and vocational rehabilitation and employment benefits without the need to submit a signed copy of the application.

The VA will now process applications received through its on-line application web site (VONAPP) without the claimant’s signature. The electronic application will be sufficient authentication of the claimant’s application for benefits. Normal development procedures and rules of evidence will still apply to all VONAPP applications.

VONAPP (www.va.gov/onlineapps.htm) is a Web-based system that benefits both internal and external users. Veterans, survivors and other claimants seeking compensation, pension, education, or vocational rehabilitation benefits can apply electronically without the constraints of location, postage cost, and time delays in mail delivery.


WASHINGTON - Combat veterans will receive readjustment counseling and other assistance in 39 additional communities across the country where the Department of Veterans Affairs will develop Vet Centers by fall 2009.

One of the new Vet Centers is schedules for New Jersey in Ocean County, with the exact location to be determined.

The existing 232 centers conduct community outreach to offer counseling on employment, family issues and education to combat veterans and family members, as well as bereavement counseling for families of service members killed on active duty and counseling for veterans who were sexually harassed on active duty.

Vet Center services are available at no cost to veterans who experienced combat during any war era. They are staffed by small teams of counselors, outreach workers and other specialists, many of whom are combat veterans.

The Vet Center program was established in 1979 by Congress, recognizing that many Vietnam veterans were still having readjustment problems. The centers have hired 100 combat veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan as outreach specialists, often placing them near military processing stations, to brief servicemen and women leaving the military about VA benefits.

Yellow Ribbon increases grant amounts

In 2007, New Jersey established the Yellow Ribbon program to help returning Operations' Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom veterans.

One facet of this program was to provide relief, in the form of grants, for a range of veteran/family emergencies and business “Re-Start” assistance. The New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs is responsible for implementation of the program.

In the midst of difficult economic times for our state and nation, the Governor and legislature deemed it a priority to extend a helping hand to veterans returning from the present conflicts. The Yellow Ribbon program was therefore extended for the 2008-09 fiscal year.

Any OEF or OIF Veteran is eligible to apply for a grant. Family members are eligible if the grant will directly or indirectly aid or provide care for the veteran.

Since the first grant was awarded, our experience indiindicates that the number of veterans requiring assistance and the magnitude of the need is much greater than originally anticipated. As a result, we have adjusted our available resources to allow an increase in the Individual Grant amount from $2,500 to $5,000, and the Business Re-Start Grant from $5,000 to $10,000. We have endeavored, through these grants, to express the appreciation of the State of New Jersey to veterans for their service, and have been humbled by the unsolicited and heartfelt responses of gratitude for help in time of need.

All grant requests must be made on a Yellow Ribbon Grant Application, include a “need” statement, a Family Budget Worksheet, and all requested or appropriate documentation. All forms and program information can be obtained from: Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, Attention: Carl Lang, P.O. Box 340, Trenton, NJ 08625-0340, or by e-mail at carl.lang@njdmava.state.nj.us.

First burial at sea

As Staff Sgt. John Thompson (left) and Spc. Allain Batong (center) fold the American Flag, bugler Spc. Nilampuri Gosai (right) and crewmembers of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Penobscot Bay salute during the first New Jersey National Guard Honor Guard burial at sea on May 24. The ceremony took place three miles offshore of Bayonne. Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Raymond Denson, NJNGHG.

KOC donation

Susan Pettigrano, Director, Volunteer Services, Paramus Veterans Memorial Home, stands with Deputy Grand Knight and Faithful Navigator of Assembly 1543 Sir Knight Paul Pinkman from the Secaucus Knights of Columbus Council, Mary Immaculate 12769 and a cartload of donations, which included 108 men’s and women’s slippers, 288 men and women’s socks for the Paramus residents. Photo by Giulia Kirsch, PVMH.

Monument unveiled

Members of the New Jersey Elks, National Veterans Service Commission, South East District pose around the unveiled monument at the Brig. Gen. William C. Doyle Memorial Cemetery on Aug. 2. The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks monument is part of the Memorial Way at the Cemetery. Dozens of Elks members were on hand at the ceremony that included an Air Force Honor Guard and firing detail from the 305th Air Mobility Wing, McGuire Air Force Base. Photo by Kryn P. Westhoven, NJDMAVA/PA.

Retiree Appreciation Day

Retired Army Sgt. 1st Class Egbert A, Mayers (left) talks with Charles Piscopo, Veterans Service Officer, New Jersey Dept. of Military and Veterans Affairs during the annual Fort Dix Retiree Appreciation Day at Timmerman Center on Sept. 20. Photo by Kryn P. Westhoven, NJDMAVA/PA.

Menlo Vets Home resident turns 100
Photo and story by Kryn P. Westhoven, NJDMAVA/PA

For his 100th birthday Roderick Kennark, center, is joined by his sister Sally Scheuerer, left and surrounded by members of the Ladies Auxiliary from American Legion Post 522 of Monroe, sponsors of his party at the Menlo Park Veterans Memorial Home on June 25.

Kennark receive several awards and a letter from Governor Jon S. Corzine while the crowd of well wishers enjoyed cake and music by Nino Rossano.

Born in Brooklyn in 1908, Kennark was a surgical technician in the Army during World War II. His decorations and citations include the European-American-Middle-Eastern Theater Ribbon and the Good Conduct Ribbon. A lifelong bachelor, he retired from a career with the Internal Revenue Service.

Homes reap rewards

Frank Jiosi Jr. (front row, left), Past Detachment Commander, Sons of The American Legion and Frank M. Calandrillo Jr. (center), Past Department Commander, The American Legion, presented checks totaling $75,480 to the New Jersey Veterans Homes and Veterans Haven. Receiving the checks are retired Col. Stephen G. Abel (right), Deputy Commissioner for Veterans Affairs, Joseph E. Romano (back row, left), Chief Executive Officer, Vineland Veterans Memorial Home; Doris R. Neibart (center), CEO, Paramus Veterans Memorial Home; and Joseph Branspiegel (right), CEO, Menlo Park Veterans Memorial Home. The funds raised were part of a “Legion Family” project among all three organizations; namely, The American Legion, The American Legion Auxiliary, and the Sons of The American Legion. Not pictured: Dolores Gonzalez, Past Department President, The American Legion Auxiliary. Photo by Tech. Sgt. Mark Olsen, NJDMAVA/PA.


Ticket to ride

The New Jersey State Department of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Ladies Auxiliary, the Military Order of the Cootie and Military Order of the Cootie Auxiliary purchased and donated two new vans for the Veterans Haven residents during their convention in Wildwood in June. Pictured handing over the keys are left to right: Lou Solmer, VFW Project Chairman; Robert G. Sauselein, Superintendent, Veterans Haven; Robert Pinto, VFW State Commander and Hazel Radcliff, President, VFW Ladies Auxiliary. Photo courtesy of the New Jersey State Department of the Veterans Foreign War.