RockVets E-Newsletter: January 2017 Edition
Veterans Service Agency of Rockland County, New York 
Jerry Donnellan, Director      Telephone: 845-638-5244 
Website: www:
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RockVets Newsletter

January 2017       845-638-5244
Volume 9
Issue 1


Vets Shuttle Service - Part II

As of the writing of this, the Shuttle Bus that runs between the New City Clinic and the Montrose VA Hospital is due to stop running as of January 30, 2017.  This, despite all the reasons to keep it - like the fact that those who use it are the oldest and sickest part of the veteran population, and the fact that the VA runs a vehicle between New City and Montrose for lab results and paperwork anyway.

So what it comes down to is really just a difference of whether to run a van or a sedan.  The cost of that difference can’t be great – and the arguments put forth by the VA were that veterans could be reimbursed for the travel. The reality of it is that only certain veterans can be reimbursed, which misses the point, because the problem is that they can’t drive. Further, reimbursement would come to 20-odd dollars when the cost of the transportation I researched was $275.00 for a round trip and waiting time for the vet, from New City to Montrose.

What’s truly sad is a great number of these vets are World War II veterans. This is the same population we honored on the Anniversaries of D-Day and Pearl Harbor. The same people that saved our country, now aren’t worth the cost of a ride.

When I began arguing this point I asked them to speak out about what ending the Shuttle would do to them.  It was truly sad -- they were afraid. They didn’t want to say anything for fear their benefits might be taken away. How sad is that? This generation that stormed the beaches at Normandy are afraid of the very organization that is put in place to help them.

Interestingly, after I raised the issue of losing the shuttle service, I received a letter from the VA to take a Compensation and Pension (C and P) exam. In English, the only purpose of that would be to take away my Disability benefits (or it could be just a clerical error which gives them plausible deniability.)  Based on its timing, this could be a way of trying to intimidate me for having the nerve to speak out for those who can’t. But after all, that is my job!

Jerry Donnellan, Director
Veterans Service Agency of Rockland
20 Squadron Blvd., Suite 480
New City, New York 10956
Telephone: 845-638-5244

Congressman Benjamin Gilman

On the 20th of December – a rather brisk, clear day, we laid Ben Gilman to rest at the U.S. Military Academy Cemetery at West Point, and I had the honor of being one of his pallbearers.

Those of you who were around for the beginnings of VVA Chapter 333 may remember that Ben came to our very first meeting. I hadn’t invited him. He just thought it’d be something worth showing up to and he stayed with us from then on.

He was a man who always listened, and for the rough and tumble of national politics he seemed a bit unphased by it.  He was always a gentle soul.

Ben served in the Army Air Force during World War II.  He was a navigator on a B-29 that had 35 missions over Japan – but he was not one to brag about that. He always seemed more interested in you -- as if you were the only person in the room.  I’d be sure he knew he’d be missed.

Rest in peace, Ben. 

Four Chaplain's Service - Sunday, February 5, 2017                                              
This year, the annual Four Chaplains Service will be held on Sunday, February 5, 2017 at 10:00 the New City Jewish Center, 47 Old Schoolhouse Road, New City.  This year's service is sponsored by American Legion Post 199.

To read the entire story of Four Chaplains, please view this link:  

According to those present, four Army chaplains brought hope in despair and light in darkness. Those chaplains were Lt. George L. Fox, Methodist; Lt. Alexander D. Goode, Jewish; Lt. John P. Washington, Roman Catholic; and Lt. Clark V. Poling, Dutch Reformed.

Quickly and quietly, the four chaplains spread out among the soldiers. There they tried to calm the frightened, tend the wounded and guide the disoriented toward safety.  When there were no more lifejackets in the storage room, the chaplains removed theirs and gave them to four frightened young men.

As the ship went down, survivors in nearby rafts could see the four chaplains–arms linked and braced against the slanting deck. Their voices could also be heard offering prayers.

Of the 902 men aboard the U.S.A.T. Dorchester, 672 died, leaving 230 survivors. When the news reached American shores, the nation was stunned by the magnitude of the tragedy and heroic conduct of the four chaplains.  That night Reverend Fox, Rabbi Goode, Reverend Poling and Father Washington passed life’s ultimate test. In doing so, they became an enduring example of extraordinary faith, courage and selflessness.

The Distinguished Service Cross and Purple Heart were awarded posthumously December 19, 1944, to the next of kin by Lt. Gen. Brehon B. Somervell, Commanding General of the Army Service Forces, in a ceremony at the post chapel at Fort Myer, VA.

VA Hudson Valley to Hold Town Hall for Veterans
VA Hudson Valley to Hold Town Hall Listening Session with Local Veterans - January 12th, 2017
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Hudson Valley Health Care System will be hosting a town hall for Veterans, family members and the public on Thursday, Jan. 12, 11:00 a.m., at the Castle Point campus Multipurpose Room, 41 Castle Point Road, Wappingers Falls, NY 12590. The meeting is intended to provide local Veterans an open forum and for VA officials to hear directly from beneficiaries. Topics featured will be improvement of services, including construction updates, new Dental clinic, new Urgent Room and the Well Star Program. The meeting is open to the public and the media, and VA is inviting Congressional stakeholders, Veteran Service Organizations, Non-Governmental Organizations, and other community partners. The event will last approximately 60 minutes.

For further information, contact: Barbara LaColla, Public Affairs Specialist
VA Hudson Valley Health Care System (845) 831-2000 (5234)   (914) 737-4400 (2255)

This is an opportunity to voice your displeasure at the going ons at the Hudson Valley V.A. Healthcare system, especially the termination of the  SHUTTLE SERVICE from Rockland County. 
Bring your concerns to the meeting. Please do not bring your own personal cases or questions to this meeting due to the time constraints and that would only hinder our cause.  
We are long overdue for accountability from the Hudson Valley V.A. Healthcare system director on the cutbacks and the increased hiring of administrative staff. Ever since the Congressional redistricting that caused the Castle Point V.A. facility and Montrose FDR V.A. facility to be in different districts there has been a cut in services. I hope that you can attend for there is strength in numbers and Veterans' concerns should be heard and addressed.

Arizona Cardinals Game Opener - National Anthem

In the wake of Colin Kaepernick’s unpatriotic refusal to stand during the national anthem, some team leaders are pushing back.  And now the Arizona Cardinals have topped them all with a game opener that will leave a lump in the throat.  The Eagle is what makes the whole ceremony extra SUPER!!

Watch the video at this link:

Hi-Tor Animal Care Center - Hiring Veterans

Hi Tor is looking to hire veterans to work at the Hi-Tor Animal Care shelter.  They are also looking for veterans to volunteer.  The animal shelter has an exciting partnership with a dog trainer starting. This trainer will take their dogs and train them as service dogs for veterans.  The dogs will be donated by Hi- Tor and the training will be donated by the trainer.

They are looking for volunteers to help with the walking of the dogs that are chosen as the service dogs. (Here is where they would be happy to have any volunteers that are interested).

The dog trainer had taken one of their shelter dogs and two weeks ago, they gave their first dog to a soldier that has PTSD.  For further information, please contact Debbie DiBernardo, President of Hi Tor Animal Care Center at 845-558-6860 or send her an e-mail at:

Skiing Lessons for Veterans with Disabilities

Ms. Caroline Lynch runs an adaptive Sports Program at Windham Mountain. They are 
teaching skiing to any wounded and disabled Veteran in January (5th to the 8th.)  All  sports related expenses are covered by them including food and lodging. If interested, please contact Caroline Lynch at 518-734-5070 or

Friends of Recovery Rockland Meet and Greet

We hope you will join us for Friends of Recovery Rockland Meet & Greet event on Wednesday, January 18, 2017 from 5:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. (They are located at 25 Smith Street, Suite 101, Nanuet, New York 10954.) It is important that we have the support of our local government officials and community stakeholders. Our local agencies are the front line of this heroin and opiate epidemic. Our staff work tirelessly to help those people who are addicted as well as their families and other loved ones. Friends of Recovery Rockland, a recovery community organization, continues to advocate for major changes in dealing with substance use disorders. Please...We certainly hope you can be with us that evening. We are grateful to the many supporters who have advocated for services.  We will continue to work to promote substance abuse disorders as a public health crisis, to help reduce stigma, and work to make our community healthy and safe.  To RSVP or for further information, please contact Kathleen Katt-Bennie via e-mail: or phone (845) 215-9788 ext. 25

NYU Military Family Clinic

Sleepless in New York? At NYU Military Family Clinic, our clinicians offer the preferred treatment approach for sleep issues – Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I).  CBT-I can help Veterans and their family members fall asleep more easily, wake up less often during the night, reduce the frequency and intensity of nightmares, and curb early morning awakenings.
CBT-I is a short-term treatment (typically only 6 sessions!) that improves symptoms of insomnia without the use of medications.  The treatment is flexible and customized to each individual’s unique sleep difficulties – not a one size fits all approach.
Because people with insomnia tend to sleep only a small fraction of the time they spend in bed, CBT-I helps reduce time spent in bed NOT sleeping.  And since people with insomnia may also have a variety of counterproductive habits (for example, eating a heavy meal shortly before bedtime), CBT-I helps identify and eliminate these sleep-interfering behaviors.  Other components of CBT-I that people often find helpful are learning new relaxation skills and making negative thoughts about sleep more flexible. 
To learn more about CBT-I at the NYU Military Family Clinic, contact Dr. David Austern at or 646-754-4830.
For Veterans and their family members who live outside the NYC metropolitan area, CBT-I over the internet using video technology may be an option.  Contact Dr. Priscilla Noulas at 646-754-7258 for more information about our telehealth offerings.

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. You can contact the County Clerk's Office at (845) 638-5076 or call the Veterans Service Agency of Rockland County at 845-638-5244. 

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.

Upcoming Events

Thursday, January 12th, 2017:  The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Hudson Valley Health Care System will be hosting a town hall for Veterans, family members and the public on Thursday, January 12th, 11:00 a.m., at the Castle Point campus Multipurpose Room, 41 Castle Point Road, Wappingers Falls, NY 12590. For further information, contact: Barbara LaColla, Public Affairs Specialist
VA Hudson Valley Health Care System (845) 831-2000 (5234)   (914) 737-4400 (2255)  
This is an opportunity to voice your displeasure at the going ons at the Hudson Valley V.A. Healthcare system, especially the termination of the  SHUTTLE SERVICE from Rockland County. Bring your concerns to the meeting. 

Wednesday, January 18th, 2017:  RCADD Friends of Recovery Rockland Meet and Greet at their office at 25 Smith Street, Suite 101, Nanuet, New York 10954.  For more information contact Kathleen Katt-Bennie at or phone:  845-215-9788 extension 25.

Sunday, February 5th, 2017:  The annual Four Chaplains Service will be held on Sunday, February 5, 2017 at 10:00 the New City Jewish Center, 47 Old Schoolhouse Road, New City.  This year's service is sponsored by American Legion Post 199.   

Thursday, February 12th, 2017:  The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Hudson Valley Health Care System will be hosting a town hall for Veterans, family members and the public on Thursday, January 12th, 2017 -  11:00 a.m., at the Castle Point campus Multipurpose Room, 41 Castle Point Road, Wappingers Falls, New York 12590. The meeting is intended to provide local Veterans an open forum and for VA officials to hear directly from beneficiaries.    
Employment Opportunities

New York-New Jersey Trail Conference Conservation Corps:
A veteran himself, Geoff Hamilton is actively recruiting veterans to fill some service positions with the New York New Jersey Trail Conference Conservation Corps for the 2017 season.  They offer housing and a living stipend.  If you are interested, please contact Geoff Hamilton via e-mail at: or visit their website: for further information.
Geoff Hamilton, Program Assistant, New York-New Jersey Trail Conference
600 Ramapo Valley Road | Mahwah, NJ 07430
T 201.512.9348 x 819| M 914.839.0409 | F201.512.9012 |
FEMA is seeking talented men and women who are eager to assist disaster survivors as Reservist employees.  In this role, you will have the opportunity to travel, receive training and build your professional network.  Are you or someone you know looking for a rewarding intermittent work opportunity to assist disaster survivors when they are most in need?  Then send your resume to
FEMA has the following Reservist job opportunities available:
Logistics Specialist (Warehouse Manager)
Systems Specialist (Database Manager)
Insurance Specialist
Information Technology Specialist
Floodplain Specialist
Media Relations
Intergovernmental Affairs
If you are interested in intermittent work and have experience in customer service, data entry, insurance processing, warehouse management, communications, or information technology, send your resume to For additional information on the Reservist Program, please see below.
What is a Reservist?
Reservists work on an intermittent basis, supporting survivors of all-hazard incidents.  They are the main FEMA workforce during an emergency or disaster, that assists the agency in accomplishing its mission.
Reservist employees:
Are hired to perform work on a temporary, on-call, and intermittent basis.
Help FEMA respond to, recover from and mitigate all hazards by performing a variety of emergency management functions which are not limited to disaster survivors assistance, conducting and verifying damage assessments, and providing administrative, financial and logistical support. 
Do not acquire competitive status or career tenure.
Selection: Reservist employees are hired under the Robert T. Stafford Act, they are excluded from the provisions of title 5, United States Code, governing jobs in the competitive service.
Reservist employees can be hired under a streamlined process instead of a competitive process.
What is a Cadre?
Cadres are groups of personnel organized by operational function and FEMA Qualification System (FQS) position.  Each Reservist is hired to a position within a Cadre based on his or her skills and experience.  The following is a list of Cadres within FEMA, which includes a description and an email contact.  Please review each Cadre.  If you have questions or if you would like to submit your resume for consideration, use the Cadre email provided.

RJ Staffing:  If you are looking for work, I can help!  My name is Jennifer and I work for RJ-Staffing in Rockland County, New York.  We have many job opportunities available and would love to speak with you if you're looking for work!  Please contact Jennifer directly via e-mail: or call Jennifer at 845-624-0400.

Civil Service Exams:  Scheduled Examinations Open to All Qualified Individuals
These examinations are open to anyone who meets the minimum qualifications specified on an examination announcement. See the announcement(s) for details. You may apply for most examinations on-line or by using our paper application (form NYS-APP). See How to Apply on the respective announcement(s).  For further information, visit their website:                                                                                  
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


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.
It is being designed by cadets from the United States Military Academy at West Point and, with the support of the County of Rockland, will be located in Haverstraw Bay County Park nearby to the Rockland County 9/11 Memorial.  It is currently scheduled to be completed by Memorial Day 2017.
The content, design, and visuals of the memorial and monument is guided by, and will be approved by, a committee made up of local veterans of these conflicts.
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:
  • 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

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

Veterans Service Agency of Rockland

If you plan to come to the Veterans Service Agency office, please call to make an appointment so we can give you the time you need:  845-638-5244.   

Jerry Donnellan, Director 

Veterans Service Agency of Rockland County

20 Squadron Blvd., - Suite 480

New City, New York  10956   


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