[Editorial written by Jerry Donnellan....November 2015]
Only the dead have seen the end of war. They too, are the only ones who come home from war without wounds. None come home with their soul intact. Don't know just when my soul and I parted ways. I think it was that night in the rain near Hill 370, Central Highlands, Vietnam. Walking the perimeter, I had stopped and nudged a young soldier with my boot to quietly make sure he was awake and stayed that way. However, when I stopped, I had a feeling some part of me kept going out past the claymores and trip flares, into the jungle.
It was October 1969. The next month my son was to be born 10,000 miles away. Past the hazy jungle and across the inky black Pacific....had to wonder if I would still be in this world to greet him. If not, would I need a soul to meet him on the other side in some other world? And what of the people I was sent here to kill? Were they parents? Surely they were someone's child. And when the time came, could I do it?
We all go to war alone, despite the size of our Unit. In spite of all the training, you still never know how you will act when that first round cracks over your head. The first reaction is shock, disbelief, maybe a bit of indignance that they had the nerve to shoot at me. Then, if you're lucky, rage kicks in....and that's where the training takes over. If you're quick and decisive, you walk away and he doesn't. Maybe my soul knew this day was coming and bailed out so I wouldn't be bothered with all those pesky, moral questions that might have slowed me down. Jerry
Veterans Day Commentary
VETERANS DAY: JERRY’S COMMENTARY (Editorial by Jerry from November 2014)
There has been a change in our society's attitudes towards veterans since Vietnam, that I've always seen as positive. However as a country, we are losing touch with our veterans. It seems that we've stereotyped them not in a bad way, but in a way where we don't know just how nuanced they are. That may be because they seem so uniform. Maybe because how well they work together tends to bolster that thinking. I'm probably more sensitive to this because you see when I was born, WWI veterans were still in their 40's. WWII veterans in their 20's. Practically every adult male was a veteran. Even as kids we knew that there would come a day when we'd be expected to put on the uniform. So we were part of the same fabric. As kids we noticed that some of the veterans were 'different', and when we asked the adults, they would say, "he's seen too much" or "he's been touched". That's how Irish immigrants like my parents put it. To me, they all seemed as though they had "been touched" - my father included. Some handled it better. But then they had a support group in place - it was called a neighborhood. They watched out for each other. Today it would be hard to find a veteran in the neighborhood and in some cases even hard to find a neighborhood. We're different as a society for many reasons but nonetheless growing distant from our veterans. Not intentionally, but the gap is widening with time.
There was a time when we went to war as a country. Now we send our military. Then there was a Draft. We all had skin in the fight. During Vietnam there were daily anti-war demonstrations on campuses across this country, rising to a crescendo in 1970 at Kent State. In three years they would be all but gone and so would the Draft. Folks who look back at the 60's as history may tend to see hippies on one side and soldiers on the other. The reality is a little more complicated. There were soldiers who became hippies. Hippies who became soldiers. Soldiers who became dead. Frozen, forever 19, in a long shiny black granite wall. Still others who walked away and will forever wonder if their name may have belonged on that wall. Guess we were all touched then, too.
Soldiers returning from Vietnam faced an angry country. Many holding them to blame. Others Americans supported the vets and could separate us from the war. Granted, the protesters got more press. Then society was layered with tens of millions of veterans from WWII, Korea, and the Cold War, still in the workplace. Many in positions of authority. Many of these veterans quietly served as our guardian angels - our rabbis, if you will.
This was also a time when manufacturing and construction were strong. Today's veteran is returning to a largely jobless workplace. The number of veterans in senior positions are but a small fraction of what we saw Post-Vietnam. Not only do they not have people in the workplace who had worn the uniform, but in some cases there are people who are skeptical or may even be fearful of the returning combat veteran. Further, from the lack of understanding there may be a reluctance to hire those who served in the Guard and Reserve. This, after watching a decade of multiple deployments.
New veterans share some of this blame. It's hard for a young soldier to put down a weapon, come down from that wall, and then have to ask the people they were protecting for help. Harder still when their wounds have no visible scars. Then or now, one goes to war by themselves regardless of the size of the unit, not knowing if combat comes how they will react. Surviving your first combat is a great high and those who are with you become welded. They will never again know this kind of bond.
So it falls to us as a country to make sure Veterans Day is not just once a year. Remember, only the dead return home without wounds. Jerry
Unveiling of Gulf War Era Monument - Nov. 10th
Please join us! All are welcome! Unveiling Ceremony for the Gulf War Era Monument, on Saturday, November 10th, 2018 at 12:00 noon -- Haverstraw Bay Park - 21 Gagan Road, Haverstraw, New York 10927. This Memorial is located to the rear of the County's 911 Memorial.
Veterans Day Ceremonies - November 11th
On Sunday, November 11th, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. there will be a Veterans Day service at the Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter #333 monument located at the Veterans' park in Orangeburg, New York.
Then at 12:00 noon, the County will commemorate Veterans Day. The ceremony will take place at the Rockland County Court House on Main Street in New City, New York 10956. The upcoming Veteran of the Year -- John Leighton -- will also be honored that day. The public is welcome to attend.
Legislation to Designate Clinic in Honor of Jerry
NEW CITY, NY – Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY17/Rockland-Westchester) on Tuesday introduced legislation (H.R. 7108) to designate the Department of Veterans Affairs community clinic in New City as the “Jerry Donnellan VA Community Clinic.” Mr. Donnellan, a Vietnam veteran and long-time advocate for veterans in Rockland, passed away in March of this year at the age of 71.
The introduction of Congresswoman Lowey’s legislation comes just days after the VA Hudson Valley Health Care System dedicated a bench in front of the New City clinic in honor of Mr. Donnellan.
The Marine Corps League will have their Birthday Bash at 2:00 p.m. on Veterans Day to be held at Kearsing-Edwards American Legion Post 1600, 20 Station Road in Pomona, New York 10970.
Military Order of the Purple Heart
Nexen Tire has partnered with the Purple Heart Foundation to award an iconic American muscle car - a custom 2019 Purple Heart Dodge Challenger - to a member of the Military Order of the Purple Heart. Nexen Tire is showing its gratitude for the safety and security provided by U.S. service members and intends to honor Purple Heart recipient heroes through the giveaway. The custom Nexen Tire Purple Heart Dodge Challenger is equipped with Nexen Roadian HP Street Sport All-Season Radial Tires.
Representing the Purple Heart Foundation will be US Army SFC Leroy Petry, a Medal of Honor and Purple Heart recipient and member of the Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH). Petry was wounded in Afghanistan in 2008 while serving in Operation Enduring Freedom. "As a Medal of Honor and Purple Heart recipient, I am extremely proud to be working with Nexen Tire and their American Muscle for American Heroes program," said Petry. "I have served alongside many outstanding service members and I can say every one of them is a hero. I am confident the Purple Heart Foundation and MOPH will find a very deserving veteran to receive this amazing custom Nexen Tire Purple Heart Dodge Challenger."
Be sure to read the rules closely to ensure that you provide all the required information including a photo, biography, and the circumstances for which you received the Purple Heart medal. The cutoff for applications is December 7, 2018.
The winner will be selected by a joint Nexen/MOPH Committee and will be announced about 1- week later. The winner must agree to have their photo and biography used for public relations purposes by Nexen Tire. For further information, contact: Felix Garcia III - National Senior Vice Commander
www.purpleheart.org - Phone: 386-793-8065 - Email: email@example.com
VVA Chapter #333 - Handcycle Program Ongoing
Here is some information on the HANDCYCLE PROGRAM from Roy Tsudy of the Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter #333: Since 2013, VVA Chapter 333 has created their Handcycle Program. Roy, along with fellow chapter Vietnam veteran Marcus Arroyo (via fund raising along with donations) have purchased and donated 13 of these cycles to military veterans with leg amputations and / or spinal cord injuries. Unfortunately, due to strict adherence to HIPPA law, they cannot easily locate veterans who can benefit from having one of the hand cycles. They find the candidates via extensive research or word of mouth.
With that in mind, if you know of any veteran with combat related injuries who would like to own a Handcycle free of charge, please contact Roy Tschudy via e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org so a proper vetting process can begin by both Marcus and Roy. Thank you. Roy Tschudy V.P. Chapter 333 V.V.A.
Green Berets Keep Fallen Soldier's Promise
Green Berets Keep Fallen Soldiers Promise to His Stepdaughter
EGLIN AFB -- Before he deployed to Afghanistan on Feb. 11, Staff Sgt. Mark De Alencar of the Army's 7th Special Forces Group had a talk with his stepdaughter, Octavia Osborne.
The Green Beret asked the 17-year-old, whom he had raised since she was 3, to look after her mother and two younger siblings. There was one more thing, too.
"He told me he'd be back in time for my graduation from Niceville High School," Osborne said with a slight smile. "He promised." Sadly, that was one promise De Alencar couldn't keep.
On April 8, De Alencar was killed in action in Nangarhar Province. He was 37.
According to De Alencar's widow, Natasha, Mark always dreamed of being a soldier.
"His family has a picture of him dressed up like an Army man when he was like 3 years old," Natasha said with a laugh. "That dream finally came true when he enlisted in 2008."
By that time, the couple had been together since 1996, when they met in Edgewood, Maryland. Both Natasha and Mark had children from previous relationships, and after they married they had two children together.
When Mark enlisted, their blended family became a military family, with all that entails. They moved to their first assignment in Hawaii and then to North Carolina, where Octavia started her junior year of high school.
"And then we gave her the bad news -- the military was sending us to Florida, right in the middle of her senior year," Natasha said. "You can imagine how hard that must have been for her. But she never complained. She took it like a champ and did the best she could."
At Niceville, Octavia worked hard. Her family put a great deal of emphasis on good grades, and she didn't want to let them down. "That was always a big thing with my dad," she said softly. "He believed education was the key to a better life." To read the rest of the story, view link:
USIS-US Information Systems, Pearl River, New York has numerous jobs available and we appreciate their reaching out to our veterans. USIS is located at 35 West Jefferson Avenue, Pearl River, NY10965. Their website is: http://www.usis.net/
If interested in any of these positions, please send an updated resume to: Anjelica Pagnozzi Recruitment@usis.net (845) 353-9248
The folks at USIS are seeking 1 CDL Truck Driver, but more than 10 people for each of the other positions. Click on each link for a full description of each job:
New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) - Office of Academic Affairs seeks a Director of Military and Veteran Affairs for our New York campuses. The office for this position is located at the New York City (Manhattan) campus. Please submit a cover letter, resume and contact information for at least three references. To assure full consideration, please submit your application by October 9, 2018. More info can be found here:
James J. Peters VA Medical Center VA Employment Information: Employment Information Session at the Bronx VA on Friday, October 19th from 9:00 a.m. – Noon. In room 3D-22. MTA, Port Authority, FDNY, and other city agencies will be conducting an information session on employment opportunities for veterans. James J. Peters VA Medical Center is located at 130 West Kingsbridge Road, Bronx, New York. 10468
Target Stores Hiring for the Holidays: Target plans on hiring around 120,000 seasonal workers across the country for the upcoming holiday season, the company recently announced in a news release. Hiring events will be held Oct. 12 - 14 at stores across the country. Target says the events will take place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. with the potential for eligible applicants to interview on the spot and receive a conditional job offer.
Boots to Business Reboot- US Small Business Administration:November 6, 2018 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the James J. Peters VA Medical Center in room 3-D-22. Boots to Business Reboot is a two-step training program that provides participants an overview of business ownership as a career vocation, an outline and knowledge on the components of a business plan, a practical exercise in opportunity recognition, and an introduction to available public and private sector resources. For further information e-mail. Aamoroso@arsenalpartnership.com or Peter.Fehnel@SBA.gov, or call 518-326-6328.
NYC Green Book Online: The Green Book is the official directory of the City of New York. An indispensable reference guide for anyone living or working with New York City. Includes detailed listings of agencies. Website: http://a856-gbol.nyc.gov/GBOLWebsite/
For your information, here are the addresses for some of our local veterans' organizations:
Rockland County Marine Corps League, 20 Station Road, Pomona, New York 10970
Military Order of the Purple Heart, 20 Station Road, Pomona, New York 10970
Vietnam Veterans of America, P.O. Box 243, New City, New York 10956
Nam Knights, 1 Western Highway, Tappan, New York 10983
Korean War Veterans, P.O. Box 304, New City, New York 10956
R.C. Military Order of the Purple Heart, 20 Station Road, Pomona, New York 10970
Jewish War Veterans, P.O. Box 38, New City, New York 10956
Veterans of Foreign Wars, P.O. Box 921, New City, New York 10956
Air Force Association, Chapter 251, 207 Treetop Circle, Nanuet, New York 10954
Rockland County American Legion, 86 South Reld Drive, Pearl River, New York 10965
Combat Vet ID Cards Available Combat Veteran ID Cards are available. If you are a combat veteran, you can get this card at the County Clerk's Office which is located at 1 South Main Street, Suite 100, New City, New York 10956. To apply for the Combat Veteran ID Card, or the F.A.V.O.R. card for all veterans, if you don't already have one, bring your DD214 to the County Clerk's Office. They'll take your photo and make up a card for you.
For further information, contact the Rockland County Clerk's Office at (845) 638-5076.
This new Combat Veteran ID Card offers all of the same benefits as the F.A.V.O.R. (Find and Assist Veterans of Record) card, which includes almost 1000 discounts to Rockland's veterans, but this new CVID card has specific advantages. The CVID card is co-sponsored by the Rockland County Police Benevolent Association and will be recognized by our local law enforcement agencies. So if you ever get pulled over, along with your license, registration, and insurance card, show the police officer your Combat Vet ID card so he knows you're an in-country vet.
Useful Telephone Numbers for Veterans
Rockland County Veterans Service Agency
Rockland County Sheriff’s Office
Veterans Peer-to-Peer (Counseling)
People to People (Food)
Montrose VA Hospital
New City VA Clinic
Rape Crisis Services (Main)
Rape Crisis Services (24/7)
Home Health Care
Good Samaritan Hospital Emergency
Nyack Hospital Emergency
Mental Health Association of Rockland County
Mobile Mental Health
West Point (nearest military base)
New York National Guard (Orangeburg, NY)
Army Reserve (Orangeburg, NY)
Rockland County Housing Action Coalition
Meals on Wheels
Iraq and Afghanistan Memorial and Monument
The Rockland County Iraq and Afghanistan Memorial and Monument will honor those from Rockland who served in those two theaters of war, whether in the Persian Gulf War, Operations Iraqi Freedom, New Dawn, or Inherent Resolve in Iraq, or Operations Enduring Freedom or Freedom's Sentinel in Afghanistan - particularly those who gave their lives.
The Memorial and Monument is located in Haverstraw Bay County Park near the Rockland County 9/11 Memorial. An Unveiling Ceremony for the Gulf War Era Monument will take place on Saturday, November 10th, 2018 at 12:00 noon -- Haverstraw Bay Park - 21 Gagan Road, Haverstraw, New York 10927. The public is welcome to attend.
Chapter 120 of the Military Order of the Purple Heart is accepting tax-free donations in support of this memorial and monument and providing a structure through which to coordinate and arrange for its maintenance. For further information, please call 845-371-7605.
Rockland County Marine Corps League Auxiliary
The Rockland County Marine Corps League Auxiliary continues its on-going campaign - Pet Rescue - to reunite our troops with pets they may have had to leave in Afghanistan. Cans and bottles (no glass bottles) that can be recycled for cash, may be brought to Kearsing Edwards American Legion Post 1600, 20 Station Road in Pomona, New York. They are collected by ARC Pet Rescue volunteers and recycled. Contributions for the Pet Rescue Project are also welcome! The funds pay for food and water to sustain pets on their journey home; their transportation is free. For more information contact Chairman Dale Fisher 845-304- 3595.
Rockland County Marine Corps League - MASH Unit
We regularly receive donations of handicap assistance equipment for disabled veterans from people who want to help. Our donated equipment is available for free to military veterans and their families. The items include the following:
If you have need of any of this equipment, contact the folks at the Rockland County Marine Corps League - 845-323-8774 or via e-mail: email@example.com.
RockVets Newsletter - A Project of New York Vets
RockVets is an Outreach project of New York Vets, Inc. - a 501 (c) 3 not-for-profit organization established in 1992, to advocate for those who have worn the uniform of the U.S. Military, no matter where or when they served.
The volunteers at New York Vets / RockVets publish this monthly e-newsletter. We welcome your thoughts, questions, and feedback. Please pass this along to other veterans who can benefit from some of the information in the newsletters. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
At the discretion of the editor, we'd be happy to add your upcoming events to our newsletter. Please submit the details to us as soon as possible, but no later than the 25th of each month so we can get the information in the following issue. Send information to email@example.com.