Giving Back

Stand Down in Morristown To Help Veterans

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MORRISTOWN, NJ - A common question heard in schools throughout the world, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Some young adults will inspire to become doctors, lawyers, teachers, mechanics, plumbers, as well as joining the military to defend the country. Regardless of the profession selected, we thank all branches of the United States Military for providing a country where people can live freely and can select the profession of their choice. Unfortunately, the freedom of United States citizens is not free. 

Since the Revolutionary War, men and women have given up their lives to defend freedom.

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The United States has been through many wars and conflicts following the Revolutionary War.    The names of the wars or conflicts may differ, but the underlining reason is the same…..to defend freedom.

Veteran’s Day is a time to take a moment and recognize all men and women in all branches of the military who have served and sacrificed for the freedom of the United States.

Unfortunately, many men and women return from combat and suffer from mental and/ or physical challenges.

Many of those returning military men and women are homeless and live without medical care, healthy meals, and the opportunity to secure a job to support them.

The Stand Down in Morristown is a three-day event starting November 13 at the Morristown Armory.  The Stand Down focuses on men and women who have given their lives for their country and now are homeless or at risk individuals in need of various services.

Community Hope, the sponsoring organization provided an array of services that are offered to veterans.  Many organizations were present at the Stand Down.  Backpacks for Vets is an organization started by Brett D’Alessandro, a marine, who served time in Afghanistan, along with his co-founder Alexa Nodero.

On his return trip home, he saw a Vietnam Vet walking on the highway holding a sign, “I’m a Vietnam Vet….Please help!”

D’Alessandro reached his home in Rhode Island and before he could enjoy his arrival, he went to his room and packed a backpack filled with items he thought would benefit a homeless individual.  He took his backpack filled with supplies and returned to the Vietnam Vet walking on the highway. From that moment, D’Alessandro knew, in addition to serving his country, he needed to help other men and women who have served and who have returned to the country with limited support and supplies. He has founded Backpacks for Vets, an organization that contributes vital supplies to those men and women in need.

Michael Sheedy, served in the United States Army and completed a year -long combat mission in Vietnam, was present to represent another organization, NJ vet to Vet.  NJ Vet to Vet is an organization that provides support services for veterans and their families. This organization provides assistance with everything from housing, to medical, to assisting in finding employment. Combat veterans receive the services free of cost.

Hogan Sr. an IDMT in the United States Air Force volunteered his time for the Stand Down as well.   An IDMT is an Independent Duty Medical Technician and he explained how 2014 was the first year the Air Force and Army was present to support the event. Hogan along with many other military members was present at the Stand Down to provide health services such as blood pressure readings and flu shots for veterans.

Operation Shoebox, is an organization run by Rod Hirsch, which provides over sea care packages.

Catholic Charities is an organization that provides supportive services for Veteran Families.  Provided services include rental assistance, moving costs, utility payments, and more.

For more information on the organizations mentioned above, visit:

1)     Community Hope:  www.communityhope-nj.org

2)     Backpacks for Life:   www.backpacksforlife.org

3)     NJ Vet to Vet:  www.njveteranshelpline.org

4)     Catholic Charities:  www.dpearson@catholiccharities.org

Morris County One Stop Career Center:  www.Jobs4Jersey.com

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