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

Fullfilling a promise
Photo and story by Tech. Sgt. Barbara Harbison, NJDMAVA/PA

Lying in a Philippine jungle waiting to be evacuated due to injuries, Stephan B. Lopes Sr. made a promise to God. On Sept. 9, family, friends and co-workers gathered to honor Lopes’ commitment to his promise.

Lopes, a member of the Americal Division, promised God that if He got him out of there, he would help people.

“And I’ve been doing it ever since,” he quipped.

So on a rainy day in September, a week before he turned 85 years young, the Vineland Veterans Memorial Home held

a surprise retirement party for Lopes who has served as a member of the home’s Veterans Advisory Council since Dec. 1966 and as the chairman of the council since June 1970.

But he actually started coming to volunteer at that home in 1948, so his volunteer time at the Vineland home has been 60 years. During that time he has seen the home go through many changes. “This is one of the most modern state veterans’ homes in the country,” he stated.

Lopes remarked that the biggest changes he has seen is the way the staff treats the residents and that the residents have better care, food, medical facilities and more entertainment.

PJ Paten, a disabled Navy veteran, who will take over the chair position on the advisory board, was one of the attendees who will miss Lopes’ presence.

The first woman to chair the board, Paten explained the board’s job was to see to the residents' needs. “We make sure the residents don’t want for anything. If they make a request, the request is passed to the board and we fill it,” she said.

When Lopes was asked what he got from six decades of volunteering at Vineland, his answer was simple, “the pleasure I got from helping people.”


$2.6 Million for Doyle Cemetery The Department of Veterans Affairs has announced a $2.6 million grant to maintain continuity of service at the Brig. Gen. William C. Doyle Veterans Cemetery in Wrightstown. The grant will fund an additional 3,161-niche columbarium for cremated remains and a public assembly area where it is anticipated future cemetery ceremonies will be held.

More than 3 Coins in a Fountain Tony Palumbo (left), President of the Resident Council, Paramus Veterans Memorial Home, watches as Marty Erico, Paramus VMH driver, collects coins from the fountain in the center court of Paramus Park Mall. During the month-long collection for the Home in August, four buckets of coins weighing more than 50 pounds brought in a total of $740.75. Photo by Giulia Kirsch, PVMH.