A Word To Encourage Our Veterans

Freeholder Director Ronald Rios

Freeholder Director Ronald Rios

by Middlesex County Freeholder Director Ronald G. Rios

This month’s column is devoted to a topic of great importance to the Middlesex County community, and a topic that is especially meaningful to me — our military veterans.

As many of you know, I host a monthly cable television program, Spotlight on Middlesex County, which discusses the topics important to the County and the residents, employees and programs that answer the needs of our citizens. Timed to coincide with Veterans Day on Nov. 11, this month’s program gave me the opportunity to interview two veterans, John Eberhardt and Ed Gorman. John Eberhardt is a navy veteran and someone who has been very active locally in veterans groups and with efforts to educate veterans on the services available to them. He currently serves as president of the Woodbridge Veterans Alliance.

Ed Gorman is a resident of Middlesex County and an army veteran who took part in the World War II D-Day invasion on Omaha Beach in France. Mr. Gorman also is an advocate of veterans’ services and has been very active in veterans’ issues over these many decades.

Thank you so much John Eberhardt and Ed Gorman for your service and for all that you do to help military veterans.

I believe it is especially important that our residents understand the sacrifices that our military veterans have made for the security and well-being of our country. The respect and gratitude that we feel toward them should be something that our children and grandchildren can understand and appreciate as well. While the Veterans Day tradition honors the significance of their contributions, the issues that many veterans and their families face must be met through practical support that reflects our appreciation for their duty and service.

The Middlesex County Freeholder Board stresses the importance of programs that reach out to the men and women who have put themselves in harm’s way to protect our freedom.

We are particularly proud of our Office of Veterans Services and the outreach and support provided by that office. The office works closely with the Middlesex County Veterans Advisory Council, always with the goal of informing military veterans about programs available to them, while educating ourselves about new needs and developing programs to meet those needs.

Through these efforts, we have stepped up the ways we connect with our veterans. We have established links to employment, education and training opportunities. We have an ongoing dialogue with veterans, veterans’ groups and stakeholders offering services so that we can understand and work toward meeting the needs of today’s veterans. Our successful veterans housing initiative is just one of the outcomes of this dialogue.

I am heartened by the passage of Public Question No. 1 on the Nov. 5 ballot, which will allow veterans’ organizations to use the net proceeds from existing games of chance (such as bingo, lotto, or raffles) for the support of their organizations.

This amendment will go a long way in supporting veterans organizations, programming and services and will help us in our quest to provide vital services in our communities to the men and women who have served our country through military service. To all the voters who said yes to this question, I say thank you.

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