BRIDGEWATER – Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, joined by Brig. Gen. Michael Cunniff, the Acting Adjutant General and members of the New Jersey veterans community, presented medals to two Union County veterans in recognition of their outstanding individual service to, and sacrifice to, America. The medals were presented Tuesday, March 6, during a ceremony in Bridgewater as part of the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMAVA) ongoing effort to honor veterans and their families. The event also served as an opportunity to share information about benefits or entitlements for veterans.
The Veterans receiving honors were Paul Lee of Westfield, an Army veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and John Matier of Kenilworth, an Army veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Veterans from seven other counties also received awards at the ceremony.
“These individuals fought for the timeless American ideals of freedom, liberty and justice,” said Guadagno. “They are the greatest of generations, and their heroism must never be forgotten.”
The medal recipients included veterans from numerous military branches that served during World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, Operation Desert Storm, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. A full list of the recipients is attached to the release.
“These ceremonies are a great opportunity for the people of New Jersey to express their gratitude to these veterans for their service to our state and nation,” said Brigadier General Michael Cunniff, the Acting Adjutant General. “Beyond the ceremony, the veterans kiosk affords us an opportunity to reach other men and women who have served and to make sure they are taking advantage of every financial and educational entitlement they have earned.”
In addition to the veterans kiosk, DMAVA has made available many programs to protect and assist New Jersey’s veterans, including Regional Family Assistance Centers, Veteran’s Hotline and a statewide network of Veterans Service Officers. Governor Christie reiterated his commitment to New Jersey’s veterans in his Fiscal Year 2013 Budget Address by proposing to launch a new long-term program dedicated to providing social and vocational rehabilitation for veterans. Last year, Governor Christie signed several pieces of legislation to honor and provide additional support for veterans including strengthening the support network for military families after the death of a service member, expanding programs to award high school diplomas to veterans who dropped out to serve in World War II, Korea and Vietnam, and honoring the families of members of the military killed in action for their sacrifice with the Gold Star Families license plate.
DMAVA will staff an information kiosk at the shopping mall from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. beginning today through March 8. Information on medical, pension, education and other benefits for eligible veterans will be available. Veterans who miss the opportunity to visit the mall kiosk can call DMAVA’s toll free benefits information line any time at 1-888-8NJ-VETS.
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