RockVets E-Newsletter: April 2018 Edition
Jerry Donnellan - email:
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RockVets Newsletter

April 2018              
Volume 10
Issue 4


We Have Lost Our Friend

By now, many of you have heard that on Friday, March 23rd, 2018, Jerry Donnellan passed away.  It is a terrible loss personally for his family and friends, as well as for the veterans' community here in Rockland County, New York.  

Last week, American flags were flown at half-staff in his honor and Jerry's family, friends and fellow veterans ensured that Jerry's Funeral and Irish Wake were a fine tribute to Rockland's Veteran of the Year and our Hero....admired, respected, and loved by so many.  

Jerry has left an indelible legacy for our veterans.  While his passing has been a tragic loss for us all, in time, we will figure out how we can best continue Jerry's passion for helping those who have worn this nation's uniform. For the time being, RockVets may feature past articles from Jerry's heart-felt musings.

No one can ever replace Jerry, but he has left a roadmap for us to continue what he has done for three decades....bringing public awareness of the service and sacrifices of our military, encouraging veterans to get the VA benefits they have well-earned, and helping each other.  Jerry was always available to help anyone who needed him -- he was a caring and compassionate man with a wonderful sense of humor.

We will miss you, dear friend....No doubt you are entertaining the Angels now.....Be at peace...

Pat McGlade / email:

Jerry's Latest Editorial - National Anthem 

Since a number of veterans had raised this issue with Jerry, he felt he needed it address it in this, his last editorial... 

Under the guise of the now popular American phrase “inclusion,” student leaders at a California high school in Ramona, California have banned our country's National Anthem from being played at school events and rallies.  An associated student body in the San Francisco Bay area has labeled the Star-Spangled Banner as racist, and blacklisted the song from being played at school events.

This is all because of the third verse of the National Anthem, which is rarely played and most people don't know.  The line says "no refuge could save the hirelings and slaves from the terror of the flight or the gloom of the grave.”

I've always interpreted that phrase to mean, the hireling (was paid civilian employees) and slaves who worked at Fort McHenry, who had no weapons to defend themselves from the British soldiers who were told to give no quarter.

For that matter, there were a number of African Americans who served in the ranks of both the American Army and British Army as soldiers.  I think it might be worthwhile for students, and if not them, then their teachers, to look into Francis Scott Key’s history in the early 1800s.

He owned seven slaves that he freed – one, named Clem Johnson, stayed with him as a paid employee.  This was decades before the Emancipation Proclamation.  In 1820 a U.S. revenue cutter captured the slave ship Antelope off the coast of Florida with nearly 300 African slaves. 

Francis Scott Key was the defense attorney for these African slaves – and this was at his own expense – engaging in what turned out to be a five-year battle, finally arguing the case before the Supreme Court in 1825.   He went on about the unthinkable conditions in which the slaves were held.  It was an affront to the law, as well as laws of nature.  He looked the six Justices in the face, four of them were slave-owners, and announced that by law of nature, all men were free.

Further, if the United States had captured a ship full of white captives, Key asked, “Would not our Courts assume them to be free?  How could it be any different simply because the captives were black?”

Considered one of the most shameful decisions of the Supreme Court, they sadly denied the case stating that slaves were property. Only a portion of the slaves was returned to Africa where they formed the colony of New Georgia in Liberia.  Key himself raised $11,000 in support of that effort – that in today's money would be $222,000.  Later, in 1841, two years before his death, Francis Scott Key helped John Quincy Adams free 53 African slaves in the slave ship Amistad case.  

To paraphrase a great American, “we should judge a man by the content of his character, not the interpretation of his words, or the color of his skin.”

Thinking of Jerry  

Major Michael Davis O'Donnell (helicopter pilot killed in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War) wrote this poem.   It's was a favorite of Jerry's.

If you are able,
save them a place
inside of you
and save one backward glance
when you are leaving
for the places they can
no longer go.

Be not ashamed to say
you loved them,
though you may
or may not have always.
Take what they have left
and what they have taught you
with their dying
and keep it with your own.

And in that time
when men decide and feel safe
to call the war insane,
take one moment to embrace
those gentle heroes
you left behind.

Gerald T. Donnellan, a lifelong resident of Rockland County, passed away at home on March 23rd, 2018. He was 71 years old.  Jerry was born in Nyack, NY to Michael and Anna Donnellan on December 28, 1946. The youngest of 5 siblings, Jerry grew up with the fishermen on Piermont Avenue...just 2 doors down from the American Legion. He attended St. Anne's School in Nyack and went on to be in the first graduating class of the brand new Albertus Magnus High School. 

Jerry attended Rockland Community College and studied theater and stage management. He continued his studies at Texas A&M until he was drafted into the Army in 1968. While Jerry joked that he was "Rockland County's least successful draft dodger" he was quite successful in completing extensive and grueling training and became a Sergeant with the US Army Rangers. 

Read full obituary here:  Jerry's Obituary

Journal News Article and Video: 

POMONA – All of the men who comprised Jerry Donnellan — the theater man, the family man, the tireless champion of veterans — would have appreciated the way that Rockland County bid farewell to the Nyack native and longtime commissioner of veterans affairs who died at his Valley Cottage home on March 23 at age 71.

Firstly, it was a full house in the vast auditorium at the Fire Training Center in Pomona, which would have appealed to the man who was Frank Sinatra’s stage manager for nearly a dozen years.

Secondly, two members of his family — his son, Sean, and his nephew, Adam — regaled the crowd with stories of growing up with a man who was infectiously curious, delightfully devious and willfully defiant of authority.

Finally, the room was ringed by veterans, some in uniform, others wearing caps denoting their service. Donnellan spent more than 30 years fighting their fight, validating their feelings, battling bureaucrats for services on their behalf. Donnellan was there for them and they wanted to be there for him on Thursday.

Continue reading story here:

Video of Funeral Service at Frederick Loescher's Veterans Cemetery

RCC Job Fair on April 10, 2018 

SUNY Rockland Community College  is hosting its 20th Annual Job Fair on Tuesday, April 10th, 2018 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. in the Eugene Levy Fieldhouse. The event is free and open to the community.  If you have any questions, please contact Stephanie Siddi, Student Career Services at RCC at 845-574-4369 or via email at
Stephanie Siddi, Student Career Services, Off-Campus Placement and Veterans - RCC

Disability Compensation

Disability compensation is a monthly tax-free benefit paid to Veterans who are at least 10% disabled because of injuries or diseases that were incurred in or aggravated during active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training. A disability can apply to physical conditions, such as a chronic knee condition, as well as a mental health conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The benefit amount is graduated according to the degree of the Veteran's disability on a scale from 10 percent to 100 percent (in increments of 10 percent). Compensation may also be paid for disabilities that are considered related or secondary to disabilities occurring in service and for disabilities presumed to be related to circumstances of military service, even though they may arise after service. Generally, the degrees of disability specified are also designed to compensate for considerable loss of working time from exacerbations or illnesses.

If you have dependents, an additional allowance may be added if your combined disability is rated 30% or greater. Your compensation may be offset if you receive military retirement pay, disability severance pay, or separation incentive payments.

More information about disability compensation benefit amounts can be found on the following links: and VA Disability Application.

National Vietnam War Veterans Day

Around the nation, VA employees took an opportunity to thank and honor Vietnam War era Veterans and their families for their incredible service and sacrifices 50 years ago.

March 29 marked the second celebration of National Vietnam War Veterans Day.  This special day was added to the list of national observances when the president signed into law the Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act of 2017.

Led by the Department of Defense, VA sustains more than 465 commemorative partnerships in recognizing the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War.  In fact, VA is proudly hosting more than 775 events to recognize Vietnam-era Veterans who served between Nov 1, 1955 to May 15, 1975, regardless of duty location around the world as all answered a nation’s call to service. VA also joins more than 11,000 local, state and national organizations who have partnered to assist DoD in honoring the 6.6 million living Vietnam Veterans.

At the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C., VA officials articipated in a wreath laying ceremony with Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan. Additionally, commemorative lapel pins and coins were presented to more than a dozen Vietnam War-era Veterans who are part of the event.

Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Monument

On April 18th, 2018, a Monument will be unveiled at Arlington National Cemetery in honor of these fine people. For further information, check out their website or contact:  
Bob Hesselbein, Chairman -- Legacy Committee -- Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association
2100 N HWY 360, Suite 907 -- Grand Prairie, TX 75050-1030 -- 608.628.9024 or via email:  To view their website:
If you would like to attend please let them know.

Trying to picture our teachers with guns...

They were scary enough with rulers!!!

Local Veterans Organization

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 now 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


Housing Unit


Rape Crisis Services (Main)


Rape Crisis Services (24/7)


Home Health Care


Good Samaritan Hospital Emergency


Nyack Hospital Emergency


Domestic Violence


Suicide Hotline


Mental Health Association of Rockland County


Mobile Mental Health


West Point (nearest military base)


New York National Guard (Orangeburg, NY)


Army Reserve (Orangeburg, NY)


Military Recruiter


Rockland County Housing Action Coalition


Alcoholics Anonymous


Emergency Shelter


Meals on Wheels


Here are useful links from Army Echoes June - September 2017 issue - check out page 22:

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 will be located in Haverstraw Bay County Park near the Rockland County 9/11 Memorial. We will keep you posted as to dedication ceremony for the Memorial.
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 construction.  For further information, please call 845-371-7605 or visit our website at: 

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:
  • Handicap-Accessible van
  • Motorized Wheelchairs
  • Manual Wheelchairs
  • Lifts
  • Walkers
  • Bath Chairs
  • Transfer Benches
  • Braces
  • Crutches
  • Canes 
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:

RockVets Newsletter  

You can find information, useful links, and view our webpage at Previous copies of our newsletters are also available on our website at

The volunteers at New York Vets / RockVets will continue to publish the 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.

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

RockVets website:

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