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

Menlo salutes volunteers
Story and photo by Sgt. Wayne Woolley, NJDMAVA/PA

Five years as a Navy corpsman made Joseph Weinberger comfortable in jobs outside his formal training.

He trained to save combat-wounded Marines in Korea – and did that. But he also ended up running the night shift at a hospital in Japan, counseling troubled service members and even tracking down prostitutes suspected of giving sailors venereal diseases.

“In the Navy, I had a lot of jobs,” said Weinberger, who served from 1951 to 1955. “Doctor, psychiatrist, nurse, fl oor washer, you name it.”

So it should be no surprise that while Weinberger spent his working years as a Johnson & Johnson drug researcher, in retirement, his volunteer work at the Menlo Park Veterans Memorial Home had nothing to with what he did in the Navy or later to make a living.

On Fridays, Weinberger helps lead Sabbath, as well as the Seder services at Menlo Park. He’s part of a team from Jewish War Veterans Post 133 in New Brunswick that makes the trip every week.

The JWV volunteers were among more than 100 Menlo Park volunteers honored at a luncheon on April 23 celebrating National Volunteer Work.

Stephen G. Abel, a retired Army colonel who serves as New Jersey DMAVA’s Deputy Commissioner of Veterans Affairs, told the volunteers that the contributions they make at Menlo Park are simply beyond measure.

“We don’t pay you,” Abel said. “Not because what you do is not valuable. But because what you do is in fact, priceless.” The residents apparently share the sentiment.

“I like to call our volunteers 'The Miracle Workers of Menlo Park,'” said David Dulak, the president of the resident association. “You perform miracles every day.”

The list of projects spearheaded by volunteers at Menlo Park is exhaustive. Volunteers provide everything from arts and crafts to horticulture therapy to computer training to creative writing and dance. They organized bingo games and trips out for meals and sporting and entertainment events.

Some volunteers, like Ed Gorman, were coming to help out long before it even moved to its current location in 1999. Gorman made the decision to become a volunteer on June 6, 1944, D-Day, at a point in the battle when it was unclear whether he’d survive.

“I made a pledge that day that if I made it, I would do everything I could for the rest of my life to help my fellow man,” Gorman said. “So here I am.”

The sense of volunteerism rubbed off on his grandson, Ed Gorman Jr. For his Eagle Scout leadership project, the younger Gorman raised $10,000 to design and build a sixhole putting green at the Menlo Park home. It was dedicated in May

. The Menlo Park volunteers say the knowledge they are appreciated is all the payment they need.

At least that’s how Joseph Weinberger, the Navy corpsman from long ago, feels when he leaves Menlo Park after an afternoon of leading worship.

“They grab my hand when I leave and say ‘God bless you,’” Weinberger said. “They make me realize that I am truly blessed.”