Fall 2009 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


Lomell receives DSM
Retired Col. Stephen G. Abel, left, Deputy Commission for Veterans Affairs presents the New Jersey Distinguished Service Medal to Leonard ‘Bud’ Lomell, a highly decorated World War II veteran who resides in Jackson. The ceremony was held at the American Legion Post 129 in Toms River in April, where Abel encouraged veterans to put in for the New Jersey medals they may deserve. The actions of Lomell are included in Steve Ambrose’s book ‘D-Day’ and earned the 89-year old the Meritorious Service Medal for his combat actions. Photo by Kryn P. Westhoven, NJDMAVA/PA.

Installment plan
Retired Col. Stephen G. Abel, left, Deputy Commission for Veteran Affairs receives the fourth $5,000 installment from American Legion Department Commander Rick Zalinkanskas on their pledge of $25,000 for the New Jersey World War II Memorial. Photo by Ray Zawacki, American Legion, Department of New Jersey.

100 years young
Paramus Veterans Memorial Home resident Jacob Shores, left, studies a picture held by retired Col. Stephen G. Abel, Deputy Commissioner for Veterans Affairs, during Shores’s 100th birthday party on July 24. The picture was taken during World War II, when Mr. Shores was Seaman Shores, a Navy Seabee who served on fi ve construction ships in the Pacifi c Theater and helped build 441 structures including piers, hospitals and bunkers. Photo by Sgt. Wayne Woolley NJDMAVA/PA.

Salute to Patriotism Gala
New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Foundation President Jim Cusick, right, and Board Member Lou Vlahakes, left, both Vietnam veterans, present New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial sculptor Thomas Jay Warren, second from left, and Memorial architect Hien Nguyen with an aerial photo of the Memorial during the Foundation’s 7th Annual Salute to Patriotism Gala at the Vietnam Era Education Center on Oct. 22. Photo by Ray Martyniuk.

Fallen Hero Spouse receives scholarship
The New Jersey Bankers Education Foundation awarded a scholarship to Kara Connelly, second from right, whose husband Army Cpl. Brian M. Connelly was killed in Iraq earlier this year. Connelly is majoring in psychology at Monmouth University and expects to graduate in December 2010. Pictured are, left to right, Foundation Secretary/ Treasurer James Meredith,

executive vice president/COO, N.J. Bankers; Foundation Chairman Robert Stillwell, president/ CEO, Boiling Springs Savings Bank; Paul Gaffney II, president, Monmouth University; Kara Connelly, scholarship recipient; Mary Jo Cittadino-Thomas, Connelly’s mother and Foundation Trustee Peter Brown, president/ CEO, Manasquan Savings Bank. The Foundation, which provides scholarship funds for dependents of members of the U.S. Armed Forces who have lost their lives or became permanently disabled in the post 9/11 Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts, was established in 2005 and funded by members of the New Jersey Bankers Association. Either the dependent or the service member must have a connection to New Jersey. The Foundation can be contacted by mail at: New Jersey Bankers Education Foundation, Inc., 411 North Avenue, Cranford, NJ, 07016; or by calling James Meredith at 908-272-8500, ext. 614.
New legal assistance project

EDISON—Legal Services of New Jersey announced a new Veterans Legal Assistance Project to provide legal representation to eligible low-income veterans with VA disability compensation and pension claims, and telephone advice in most other veterans matters.

According to the Government Accountability Offi ce, it takes an average of 280 days to process a veteran’s initial claim and more than 18 months to resolve an appeal.

More than 100,000 claims decided each year are eventually reversed after an initial adverse determination.

It is projected that veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will fi le more than 600,000 new disability claims over the next five years.

The project will focus its efforts initially on assisting veterans who have fi led for benefi ts and received some form of adverse determination, which statistics reveal can amount to as many as 70 percent of all disability compensation claims.

Initially the project will be staffed by Mary Acevedo, an LSNJ senior attorney. Because of limited funding, full representation will only be provided in disability claims, but telephone advice will be offered for other legal issues commonly faced by veterans.

For more information go to the www.LSNJLAW.org, or call LSNJ’s toll-free, statewide legal hotline, 1-888-LSNJLAW (1-888-576-5529).

Those outside New Jersey should call 732-572-9100 and ask to be transferred to the hotline. Services are provided at no charge, but all clients must be fi nancially eligible (below 200 percent of the federal poverty level) and representation is not guaranteed.

Another VSO Success Story
By Chris Kulkosky, NJDMAVA
Veterans Service Offi cer Christopher Wambach, who serves in the Atlantic City Armory Veterans Service Offi ce, recently completed a complex and diffi cult application for a Vietnam and Gulf War era disabled veteran.

The veteran suffered from numerous chronic physical disabilities as well as post-traumatic stress disorder incurred on active duty in the Army. Wambach assembled a large volume of medical records and submitted them to the Veterans Administration in support of the claim. The Veterans Administration had underevaluated the disabilities of this veteran for many years. Wambach made the case for a higher level of benefits for a veteran.

The VA was convinced, paid a retroactive grant of $37,284 and has declared the veteran totally disabled. The veteran will receive $2,823 monthly, a substantial increase. The timely and determined intervention of Chris Wambach on the veteran’s behalf made all the difference.