In honor of Veterans Day, TAPinto Paterson is running a series entitled “Heroes of Our City” to celebrate the service and dedication of our service members. Look out for a new profile of a local veterans between now and Veterans Day on November 11.

Pastor James Staton

Pastor Staton was a member of the Marine Corps, serving all over the world at bases in the Middle East, Korea, The Philippines, and others. By the end of his military career, he had reached the rank of Non-Commissioned Officer. 

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In 1971, Staton was present at the signing of the Okinawa Reversion Agreement that restored sovereignty back to Japan after the events of WWII. It is an experience he will never forget.

A pastor in Paterson now, Staton believes that the guiding hand of God pushed him down the path of a life of service. “It was by divine intervention that I began my biblical studies after the military.” He feels that his life was meant to be one of dedication to others. 

James wants everyone to know about the plight some veterans face when they return home. “Many of us came home and there was nothing there for us. I went in on a buddy plan, and I’m the only one living. Whether they got caught up overseas or in the drugs or the drinking back home, it’s just me now.” There are cracks that so many service members slip through, he says.

A former councilman for the 1st Ward, Staton believes the government must continue to push for more service for our veterans. “We’re making progress. Slow progress, but there’s nope.” He hopes for a focus on health and homeless services to keep people off of the streets. 

Now, he dedicates his time to various organizations seeking to better the city of Paterson including Ceasefire, the Taxpayer’s Association, the American Legion, and the Red Cross. Staton sees so much potential in the city, and doesn’t shy away from the massive amount of work it will take to continue to build. 

To current service members, he offers a message. “You’re not in it alone. We are our brother’s keepers. Look out for one another.” James reminds our soldiers overseas to keep hope and faith and an understanding that they are a part of something greater than themselves. 

This Veterans Day, Staton will be volunteering his time at Historic Cavalry Church in Paterson, where they will be honoring WWII Veteran Paul R. Barnes. Staton will not rest until every veteran at home or overseas is recognized for their service.

TAPinto Paterson would like to thank Reverend Staton for his commitment to a life of serving those in need.