Giving Back

Verizon Features Vets4Warriors on FiOS 1 News

6023f8bfacae63c4de7c_IMG_3854.JPG
From left: Director of Vets4Warriors US Army Maj. Gen. Mark A. Graham (ret.), Verizon NJ Vice President for External Affairs Samuel A. Delgado, and Middlesex Co. Freeholder Director Ronald G. Rios Credits: Josh Frank
002558c426a421793b67_IMG_3797.JPG
Lieutenant Fatima Aguilar (left) discusses the US Military mental health crisis with Middlesex Co. Freeholder Director Ronald G. Rios (right). Credits: Josh Frank
f032fd6365ad8b2b237d_IMG_3824_edit.JPG
The call center at Vets4Warriors is staffed around the clock, year-round by veterans and licensed clinicians. Credits: Josh Frank
6023f8bfacae63c4de7c_IMG_3854.JPG

Fatima Aguilar’s first day on the job at Vets4Warriors was anything but normal. A military veteran serving as a Second Lieutenant with the New Jersey National Guard, she found herself in a potential suicide crisis situation as soon as she hit the phones.

“I started around three and a half years ago on the overnight shift, and my very first call was a US Marine veteran who was on a bridge, intoxicated and pacing back and forth.” said Aguilar. “I was sweating and shaking, but I offered him a voice; an ear to listen. I listened to him tell me about his service and his struggles, and I was able to talk him back to safety and off the bridge.”

“It’s the power of being a veteran. Maybe just a voice, someone to talk with, makes a difference,” she said.  “Sometimes that difference is between life and death.”

Sign Up for E-News

Saving lives is just another day on the job at Vets4Warriors, a peer support network serving veterans, active duty military officers, National Guard and reserve service members and their caregivers. Located in Piscataway, Vets4Warriors is staffed around the clock every day of the year by a team of veteran clinicians and veteran peers.

“Let’s not wait to help a veteran until after the crisis passes,” said Maj. General Mark A. Graham, director of the Vets4Warriors program. “When you call, there’s a veteran who will answer the phone live around the clock. We also have a licensed clinician here.”

The call center at Vets4Warriors is staffed by veterans and licensed clinicians around the clock, year-round.

“The majority of calls we get are for depression, loneliness or anxiety - just folks who are struggling with everyday life,” Major Gen. Graham said. “What we offer is peer support; saying, ‘You served, I served - how can we assist you? How can we get you to a better place, regardless of what you’ve been through?’”

For Major Gen. Graham, the mental health crisis gripping our nation’s military is extremely personal. The Grahams lost a son, Kevin, a Senior Army ROTC Cadet, to suicide in 2003, while he was studying to be an Army Doctor.

Kevin Graham had struggled with depression for years, but his family never knew the full extent of his suffering.

“I wanted to continue to serve in a different way after retiring - to honor Kevin’s memory,” Graham said. “I want to make sure there’s a number they can call 24 hours a day. I want to make sure someone follows up and calls back, as many times as is necessary.”

The crisis illustrates an increasing need for partnerships between the military, local government and the private sector to help service personnel and their families transition successfully to civilian life and handle the after-effects of active duty.

“My position is an opportunity to create and enhance programs for veterans in our state,” said Middlesex County Freeholder Director Ronald G. Rios. “I’m incredibly proud that our Board [of Chosen Freeholders] has been recognized by the White House for our efforts to combat homelessness among veterans with our Veterans Housing Assistance program.”

Rios, who has made outreach to veterans a core component his role as Freeholder Director, highlighted the role of organizations like Vets4Warriors and their private-sector partners to help ensure that nobody who has served suffers needlessly.

“Hearing about the impact Vets4Warriors has had touches my heart,” Rios said. “Programs like this go hand-in-hand with our county’s efforts to lift veterans out of crisis.”

Vets4Warriors has also received strong support from Verizon, which is highlighting the program on FiOS1 News.

“Verizon is committed to serving those who serve our country. We employ more than 10,000 veterans, who contribute their skills across our entire business,“ said Samuel A. Delgado, Vice President of External Affairs for Verizon New Jersey, who is a 20-year Marine Corps veteran.

“Many of the lessons I learned as a U.S. Marine officer helped shape my career at Verizon,” Delgado said. “I’m moved by the stories of these service members, and I’m proud to be a part of a company that stands with those who’ve served our country with integrity and honor.”

The segment will be running on Verizon FiOS1 News in the upcoming weeks.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

Franklin Township

Somerset: Act Now to Save 15 Percent Off Pulse Summer Sports Camps

May 20, 2018

FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP, NJ - Pulse Premier Sports Camps offer an innovative approach to sports education. Curriculums are designed for young athletes of all skill levels who have a passion for sports and demand more during key influential years.

Starting in June Pulse will be running their Premier Soccer & Multi Sports Camps at Rutgers Prep, TAP here for details.

Act now and you can save 15 ...

New Jersey State Motor Vehicle Commission Returns to South Plainfield

May 21, 2018

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – A new state Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) opened its doors in South Plainfield on Monday, just one week shy of a year since the borough’s former agency closed its doors. The office, located at 5000 Hadley Road, will provide in-person services to residents of the borough and the surrounding communities six days a week. 

“I would like ...

Fallout Continues from Lawsuit Against Mountainside; Police Chief on Administrative Leave

MOUNTAINSIDE, NJ – Police Chief Allan Attanasio is the latest member of the police department to suffer repercussions from a complaint filed against the borough on May 11.  Attanasio, who is not named as a defendant in the lawsuit, was “placed on administrative leave,” on Thursday by Borough Administrator and former Police Chief James Debbie, said  Lt. Joseph ...

Video Shows School Board Member In Altercation With Police at Traffic Stop in South Orange

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - South Orange Maplewood School Board Member Stephanie Lawson-Muhammad got into an altercation with a South Orange police officer who stopped her for speeding last month, in which she used profanity, complained when she was issued a ticket and called South Orange Police Chief Kyle Kroll “a skinhead cop.”

Lawson-Muhammad also appeared to suggest that she would ...

Three Bloomfield Teens Are Missing, Police Seek Community Assistance to Locate Them (FOUND)

BLOOMFIELD, NJ - Bloomfield Department of Public Safety Director Samuel DeMaio confirmed that three missing teenagers have been found safe at a McDonald's restaurant in Pennsylvania.

Original article:

The Bloomfield Police Department is asking for the public's assistance to locate three teenagers who went missing this week. One of the parents reports that a large sum of money is ...

Police Investigate Rabbit "Tale"

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Local cops are investigating an incident of ‘theft by deception’ involving the Plainfield Animal Hospital. 

According to the incident report filed by Officer Justin Melanson and obtained by TAPinto, residents of South Plainfield took their pet rabbit to the Park Avenue animal hospital on April 4 to be euthanized due to advanced ...

New Jersey State Motor Vehicle Commission Returns to South Plainfield

May 21, 2018

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – A new state Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) opened its doors in South Plainfield on Monday, just one week shy of a year since the borough’s former agency closed its doors. The office, located at 5000 Hadley Road, will provide in-person services to residents of the borough and the surrounding communities six days a week. 

“I would like ...

Fallout Continues from Lawsuit Against Mountainside; Police Chief on Administrative Leave

MOUNTAINSIDE, NJ – Police Chief Allan Attanasio is the latest member of the police department to suffer repercussions from a complaint filed against the borough on May 11.  Attanasio, who is not named as a defendant in the lawsuit, was “placed on administrative leave,” on Thursday by Borough Administrator and former Police Chief James Debbie, said  Lt. Joseph ...

Video Shows School Board Member In Altercation With Police at Traffic Stop in South Orange

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - South Orange Maplewood School Board Member Stephanie Lawson-Muhammad got into an altercation with a South Orange police officer who stopped her for speeding last month, in which she used profanity, complained when she was issued a ticket and called South Orange Police Chief Kyle Kroll “a skinhead cop.”

Lawson-Muhammad also appeared to suggest that she would ...

Somerville’s Girls Night Out: Prepare to be Pampered, Expect to be Pleased

May 17, 2018

SOMERVILLE, NJ  - Girls' Night Out in Downtown Somerville might start out a little bit soggy, but the Accu-Weather  forecast for late Thursday afternoon and early evening is cause for optimism – 50 percent chance of rain in the afternoon, maybe ending by  6 p.m.

Regardless,  the long-awaited event is advertised as a rain or shine affair, and there will be more ...

Franklin Township: Hillsborough Teen Prevails in Chess Match Against Somerset Freeholder Levine

ROCKY HILL, NJ – Somerset County Freeholder Brian Levine had his hands full as he matched wits with 10 young chess players in a simultaneous tournament at the Mary Jacobs Memorial Library.May 14.

Levine’s opponents, ages 6-18, proved to be formidable opponents, with 7-year-old Grace Liang stumping Levine several times before he prevailed.

Some matches took as long as three ...

Somerville Honors' Student Speaks at RVCC Graduation; 1,300 Receive Degrees

BRANCHBURG, NJ - Raritan Valley Community College awarded associate degrees and certificates to more than 1,300 graduates at its commencement, Saturday, May 12, including Somerville resident Barbara Kania, an Honors College student who introduced commencement speaker Judge Paul W. Armstrong.

Kania is a Pre-Medical Professional major who is the founder and president of RVCC’s Pre-Medicine ...

Somerville’s Girls Night Out: Prepare to be Pampered, Expect to be Pleased

May 17, 2018

SOMERVILLE, NJ  - Girls' Night Out in Downtown Somerville might start out a little bit soggy, but the Accu-Weather  forecast for late Thursday afternoon and early evening is cause for optimism – 50 percent chance of rain in the afternoon, maybe ending by  6 p.m.

Regardless,  the long-awaited event is advertised as a rain or shine affair, and there will be more ...

Franklin Township: Hillsborough Teen Prevails in Chess Match Against Somerset Freeholder Levine

ROCKY HILL, NJ – Somerset County Freeholder Brian Levine had his hands full as he matched wits with 10 young chess players in a simultaneous tournament at the Mary Jacobs Memorial Library.May 14.

Levine’s opponents, ages 6-18, proved to be formidable opponents, with 7-year-old Grace Liang stumping Levine several times before he prevailed.

Some matches took as long as three ...

SURVIVING A STROKE: Quick Medical Response Gives Mom Her Life Back

Carotid artery dissection. It’s one of the most common causes of stroke in younger adults.

And while you might not associate the word “stroke” with younger patients, the condition – if not treated immediately – could lead to paralysis and even death.

Lindsey Singh can attest to the importance of immediacy. The 31-year-old mother of two from Flanders experienced ...

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast: Episode 15

On this week’s AtlantiCast, learn some important tips for controlling and avoiding diabetes from an Atlantic Health System expert, see how Atlantic Health is advancing cutting-edge research, hear what’s being done to keep health care environmentally friendly and much more!