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

Yellow Ribbon grant aids OIF veteran

On April 26, the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs participated in the “Strength and Honor” program, which sought to raise funds to support Cpl. Shane Ugliono – a wounded Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran and his family.

The Department presented Ugliono with Yellow Ribbon Committee grants totaling $5,500 to aid in his recovery. In addition, Ugliono was awarded the New Jersey Distinguished Service Medal – New Jersey’s highest military award. The decoration was presented by Sen. John Girgenti, Chairman of the State Senate’s Committee on Law, Public Safety and Veterans Affairs.

The event, jointly sponsored by the Borough of Hawthorne (Passaic County) and REPS Gymnasium, was held at the Hawthorne Boys and Girls Club.

Ugliono was seriously wounded in a firefight in Salahaddin Province (north of Baghdad) on Jan. 8. While participating in an operation, Ugliono’s five-man team came under fire from more than 30 insurgents. Three members of that team were killed; Ugliono and one other survivor were severely wounded.

Ugliono was hit with at least 21 rounds, with most hitting his Kevlar helmet or body armor. His left arm was almost sheared off by rifle fire and he has already undergone 12 surgeries with more to follow. Ugliono travels to West Point, N.Y., three times a week for therapy sessions. His arm is currently paralyzed and the long term prognosis is unclear. Ugliono’s decorations include the Combat Infantry Badge, Purple Heart and he has been recommended for a Bronze Star for Valor.

Ugliono is married, with three young children, a mortgage and mounting bills. He is unable to drive himself to medical appointments, resulting in his wife becoming his primary non-military care giver. As such, she is unable to work, which is adding to their financial difficulties.

Ugliono is precisely the type of New Jersey Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom veteran that the Yellow Ribbon Committee grants were designed to assist.

Grants available for combat vets
From the Division of Veterans Services

In 2007, the State of New Jersey established a program to help returning veterans from Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). 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.

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.

The list of the types of grants available include: temporary subsistence pending disability claim approval, up to $500 a month for up to six months ($3,000 maximum); eviction, mortgage/rent arrearage, foreclosure problems; basic subsistence (food and clothing); utility shutoff, heating oil; emergency home repairs (including medically necessary renovations); essential appliance repair/replacement (i.e. furnace, stove, refrigerator, water heater, etc.); vehicle repair/replacement (primary, job or medical necessity); tuition/education assistance; caregiver expenses (lodging, subsistence) to accompany veteran at a distant medical facility; business “Re-Start” - to re-start or reinvigorate the veteran's business.

Family grants are limited to a maximum of $2,500. The business grant is limited to $5,000. Along with the primary goal of relieving short term financial difficulties, the program has become an effective outreach tool and has served as a vehicle for interagency cooperation and coordination in meeting this veteran populations' needs.

Since February, when the program budget was officially approved, the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs has received 35 grant applications, processed 32 and approved 29 for more than $68,000. As word of the program has spread, the volume of requests has steadily increased from three the first week to nine in the last week of April.

All grant requests must be made on a Yellow Ribbon Committee Grant Application, (see pages 9 and 10), include a “need” statement and all requested or appropriate documentation. Additional 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.

Once the completed application and documentation is submitted, the YRC will review it and provide their decision within five business days.