By Alexander Mirabella
Chairman, Union County Board of Commissioners
May is Military Appreciation Month and the Union County Board of Commissioners is committed to connecting our veterans and military families with helpful services.
Over the past year, we have expanded our outreach with several new programs.
We now have designated parking spaces at of our County facilities, for all Union County Veterans who display a Union County Veterans parking placard in their vehicle. To view a list of the locations and submit an application for a free placard, please visit ucnj.org/uc-hero.
In support of our LGBTQ veterans and active military residents, we have also partnered with our Office of LGBTQ Affairs, to address specific concerns and issues. We offer services for VA disability issues, military discharge upgrades, medical benefits, education resources, housing assistance, and employment/training resources.
In partnership with the PGA HOPE (Helping Our Patriots Everywhere) program, the County will be offering free golf lessons to Veterans starting May 25. Learning and playing the game of golf has proven to provide Veterans with positive social experiences that can assist with assimilation into the community after service. To sign up or learn more information about this program, please visit ucnj.org/uc-hero.
We also reach out on a regular basis through The Veterans Bulletin, the official newsletter of the Union County Office of Veterans Services. The bulletin details all programs and services that are available to Veterans and active military members in Union County, as well as highlighting important issues during the designated month. Please visit ucnj.org/uc-hero for online viewing or to join the mailing list.
As a reminder, Union County Clerk Joanne Rajoppi provides honorable discharge identification cards to veterans at no charge. If you have any questions or need additional assistance with this process, you can call the County Clerk’s office or contact Janna Williams, Accredited Veteran Service Coordinator for the Office of Veterans Services, at (908) 527-4918 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, as is our tradition, later this month we will be distributing American flags to be placed on Veterans’ graves in honor of Memorial Day. Last year we continued this tradition safely during the pandemic, with more than 30,000 flags placed by dozens of volunteers.
This year, it is with renewed appreciation and respect that we visit the final resting places of our military veterans, who gave their lives to ensure the peace, safety, and security of our nation. May we all honor their sacrifice by doing our best to ensure that the light of democracy continues to shine throughout the world.
For more information and updates on all Union County services during the COVID-19 outbreak, including the Drive-Through Test Center at Kean University, the Mobile Test Unit walk-up sites, vaccination information, emergency food distribution and other support services, visit ucnj.org/covid19. General information about COVID-19 is available through the New Jersey Department of Health at nj.gov/health.
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