Spring 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

VSO Success Stories
From the office of Christopher Wambach, Atlantic City VSO

On April 26, I, along with representatives from the VA Center, Ventnor; Atlantic County VSO; ESGR personnel; and, various service organizations were invited to the Enlisted Call at the New Jersey Air National Guard’s 177th Fighter Wing. George Gumpper, Director of the Vet Center, spoke about the counseling available to combat theater vets and their families.

This was a timely subject given the recent directive on security clearances and mental health. I teamed up with Bob Frolow, Atlantic County VSO and spoke to the Airmen about the work we do as Veteran Service Officers. We emphasized the importance of counseling for Iraq/Afghan veterans.

At the end of the seminar, many Airmen approached us with specific questions on disability claims, VA health care, home loans, and education issues from GI Bill eligibility to financial aid. Earlier in the day, after a tour of the base with Command Chief Master Sgt. Mike VSO Success Stories Francis, I spoke to senior enlisted personnel and potential retirees and made appointments for filing claims at DMAVA’s Atlantic City service office. Being proactive resulted in success and it was great to reach out and bring our benefit message to the local National Guard contingent.

From the office of Bill McDonnell, Camden/Gloucester Counties VSO

I have a great story. I met two retired priests who are World War II veterans. Of course, I assumed that they were chaplains. It turns out that Rev. Robert J. Brandenberger, CM, was a Marine Officer in World War II, who served from March 1943 until July 1946 at the rank of first lieutenant.

He went into the Marines after graduating from Niagara College (now Niagara University). He was so glad that he survived the war that he became a priest. He never received his discharge in 1946 so I requested his discharge from St. Louis and presented it to him on a Sunday in April. I enrolled this 88 year old priest at the Philadelphia VA Medical Center geriatric center. The doctor promised to refer him to the audiology clinic so that he can get brand new $6,000 hearing aids at no cost to the veteran. I presented him with his discharge document after 62 years. He served in the priesthood for 30 years in Panama where, of course, he learned to speak Spanish fluently. Father Brandenberger is a Connecticut native.

The other priest is 88 year old Rev. Charles M. Shanley, CM. Father Shanley served in the Army Air Corps during World War II. I also enrolled Father Shanley in the VA geriatric clinic at Philadelphia. He will also receive hearing aids from VA.

The amazing thing about Father Shanley is that he was rated as disabled by VA in 1946 and never knew it. He was receiving a check since 1946 and could not figure out what it was for. The VA told us that they would re-evaluate Father Shanley in order to increase his disability payment. Father Shanley is a native of New York City.

June 5-6 “Elks” Convention
June 11-13 “American Legion” Convention
June 18-20 “VFW” Convention
Wildwood Convention Center
July 8-10 Cherry Hill Mall
July 18* Wildwood Convention Center
In conjunction with the Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall
August 5*-7 Willowbrook Mall
Bridgewater Commons Mall – Sept. 2*-4
Menlo Park Mall – Oct. 14*-16
Kiosk hours 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.
* Asterisk indicates medal presentation at 10:30 a.m.