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

Veterans News & Views

Korean mayor visits Paramus
Korean mayor visits Paramus

Sang-Soo Ahn (left), mayor of Incheon, Metropolitan City, poses for a photo with resident Herbert DeVogel and Doris R. Neibart, Chief Executive Officer, Veterans Memorial Home at Paramus on April 15. During a tour of the Veterans Home, Ahn shook hands with the home’s Korean War Veterans and expressed his gratitude for all that they had done for his country. Incheon was the site of the Battle of Inchon, one of the Korean War’s most decisive battles. Photo by Giulia V. Kirsch, Veterans Memorial Home at Paramus.

Winners honored
Winners honored

The winners of the New Jersey Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Voice of Democracy 2007-08 Essay Contest were honored at the Department of Military Veterans Affairs on Feb. 28. This year’s theme was “My role in honoring America’s Veterans.” Retired Col. Stephen G. Abel (left), Deputy Commissioner for Veterans Affairs, presented award certificates to (left to right) Frances Marie A. Mallari, 1st Place; Christine A. Blanke, 3rd Place and Collin D. Schuck, 2nd Place. Deborah McLendon (right) is the Voice of Democracy Essay Contest Co-Chair. Mallari went on to represent New Jersey at the National VFW competition in Washington, D.C. Photo by Tech. Sgt. Mark Olsen, NJDMAVA/PA.

Memorial takes shape
Memorial takes shape

Retired Col. Stephen G. Abel (gesturing toward photo panel) shows World War II Commission Member James Manning the mockup of the storyboard walls that will be installed at the New Jersey World War II Memorial in Trenton, which is scheduled to be dedicated on Nov. 11, 2008. Photo by Tech. Sgt. Mark Olsen, NJDMAVA/PA.

Special Valentine delivery
Special Valentine delivery

South River High School senior Leon Schermerhorn presents nearly 1,100 Valentines to Menlo Park Veterans Memorial Home Council President David Dulack. The year before Schermerhorn delivered 850 valentines that were distributed to the residents and continued the project for a second year before heading off to Rutgers. Photo by Kryn P. Westhoven, NJDMAVA/PA.

Scholarships available

The New Jersey Community Bankers Education Foundation, Inc. announced the availability of scholarship funds for dependents of members of the U.S. Armed Forces who have either lost their lives or became permanently disabled in the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts.

Scholarship funds will be considered for those applicants that have a high school or equivalency diploma and are in pursuit of higher education, including technical or vocational training, and demonstrate a financial need. The Foundation defines dependency as the service member’s spouse, chil-dren, stepchildren and grandchildren (or step-grandchildren), and any person for whom the Soldier, Airman, Marine or Sailor provided one-half of the support in the prior calendar year.

Either the dependent or the service member must have a connection to New Jersey. To establish this connection, either the applicant’s permanent address must be in New Jersey, or the soldier’s last permanent residence, or military base, must have been in New Jersey.

Questions can be addressed to James Meredith by telephone (908)272-8500, ext.614), or by e-mail at jmeredith@njleague.com.

VA to reach out to combat veterans

The Department of Veterans Affairs will begin contacting nearly 570,000 recent combat veterans May 1 to ensure they know about VA’s medical services and other benefits.

A contractor-operated “Combat Veteran Call Center” will telephone two distinct populations of veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan, officials said. In the first phase, calls will go to an estimated 17,000 veterans who were sick or injured while serving in Iraq or Afghanistan. VA will offer to appoint a care manager to work with them if they don’t have one already. Care managers ensure veterans receive appropriate care and know about their VA benefits.

For five years after their discharge from the military, these combat veterans have special access to VA health care. The department screens combat veterans for signs of posttraumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. VA personnel have been deployed to the military’s major medical centers to assist wounded service members and their families during the transition to civilian lives.

The new call center’s second phase will target 550,000 Afghanistan and Iraq veterans who have been discharged from active duty but have not contacted the VA for services.

SGLI and VGLI premiums reduced

WASHINGTON, D.C. –– Veterans and military personnel with life insurance policies managed by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will see a reduction in their premiums, thanks to improved investment earnings and a reduction in non-combat claims.

The premium cuts affect military personnel covered by Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) and veterans covered by the Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (VGLI).

Lower VGLI premiums will allow more veterans to provide this low-cost financial security to their families.

On July 1, 2008, the premiums for basic SGLI will be six and a half cents per month for $1,000 of coverage, down from seven cents per month for $1,000. This translates into a seven percent savings.

Servicemembers with the maximum $400,000 of coverage will see their monthly premium reduced from $28 to $26. Servicemembers are also covered against severe traumatic injury for an additional dollar each month.

The SGLI premium reduction is made possible by lower, non-combat-related claims and increases in investment earnings. VA officials believe this premium reduction will help maintain the nearly universal participation in the program.

VGLI provides renewable term policies for people after their discharges from the military. Veterans pay premiums according to their age for this coverage.

On July 1, VGLI premium rates will be reduced for veterans aged 30 to 64, who make up 85 percent of those insured under the program.

To obtain more information about the SGLI and VGLI premium reductions or to view a table with the new VGLI rates, go to www.insurance.va.gov, or call the Office of Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance at 1-800-419-1473.

Tent pavilion dedicated at Vineland
Tent pavilion dedicated at Vineland

Amy Kaplan (left), daughter of Maj. Bert Mann, prepares to introduce Commander Bernard Friedenberg, Garr-Greenstein Post #39 of the Jewish War Veterans, during a dedication ceremony at the Vineland Veterans Memorial Home on May 4. The Post donated a tent pavilion, which will be used as an outdoor shelter area for the residents, is dedicated in the memory of Mann, a World War II combat veteran who flew 52 missions over Germany with the Army Air Forces. Mann received the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Corps Medal and five Purple Hearts during his service. Photo by Staff Sgt. Jerome Grant, 444MPAD.

Dig in Scouts
Dig in Scouts

Boy Scout Joe Blake (center), Boy Scouts of America Troop 96 of Barrington/Haddon Heights with the assistance of his fellow Scouts, surveys the location of various plants during the dedication ceremony of two mobile gardens at the Vineland Veterans Memorial Home on May 10. The mobile gardens will allow Vineland residents who are wheelchair-bound to be able to continue working a garden setting. With the completion of this project, Blake will now earn his Eagle Scout Badge. The project was partly funded by the membership of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1958. Photo by Staff Sgt. Jerome Grant, 444MPAD.

Phone cards donated
Phone cards donated

The Women’s Club of Manasquan raised $1,400 to purchase phone cards for New Jersey Army National Guard Soldiers who will be mobilized to support the Global War on Terrorism this year. Presenting the 300 minute phones cards are Jane Greenwald, past president; Jane Bessemer, project chairwomen; both to the left of retired Col. Stephen G. Abel, Deputy Commissioner for Veterans Affairs, who accepted the donation and Barbara Molteni, President of the Women’s Club of Manasquan. The ceremony was held at the National Guard Training Center in Sea Girt on Jan. 3. Photo by Kryn P. Westhoven, NJDMAVA/PA.

Honor Guard Service to be recognized

The Honor Guard detail at the Brigadier General William C. Doyle Veterans Memorial Cemetery last year performed more than 1,900 funeral honors. Since 2004, the New Jersey National Guard has performed more than 5,700 funeral honors in cemeteries throughout the state. For their service, an Honor Guard Ribbon has been designed, approved and passed out of committee for a vote by the full legislature.