Nutley Commissioner Steven Rogers, a retired Navy Commander, wants to get high school and college students involved with local war veterans.
“I want young people to see the World War II generation veterans and learn the history, and I want all veterans in Nutley to know that they are not forgotten,” Rogers said. “Plus younger students can write to soldiers closer to their age and make sure they are being remembered as well.”
Veterans are already getting assistance from a military affairs bureau, which offers legal help, employment counseling, financial planning, education benefits and counseling for returning veterans, their spouses and children.
Rogers, whose son is a Marine combat veteran, said once the student volunteers are trained, they will write letters to active duty soldiers overseas, and visit homes of veterans accompanied by staff of the Department of Public Affairs, he said.
For students entering the job market, Rogers said this experience can give them an edge, “Many students will soon be out in the job market, and employers will be looking for this kind of extraordinary community service.”
In his efforts to meet as many Nutley war veterans as possible, Rogers said he has heard stories that need to be shared with younger residents.
“Many veterans come to visit me in my office on Saturday mornings, and one man told me he was a prisoner of war shot down behind German lines, while another survived the Battle of Iwo Jima,” he said. “By having our young people call to check in, and have a nice conversation with these older veterans, they will get to hear this living history.”
Students who volunteer will be asked to attend a workshop at the Nutley Department of Public Affairs, and once trained, they will be given a list of local veterans and military families who they can “adopt," Rogers said.
Students will earn a Certificate of Appreciation and a letter stating that they completed a community service program, he said.
Student volunteers are asked to contact Dan Jacoby at the Public Affairs Department at 973-284-4976.
Veterans representing Nutley VFW Post No. 493, AMVETS Post No. 30 and the local American Legion Post, are among many area veterans groups that have endorsed the bureau, including veterans Darrel W. Root, Fred Penaranda, Jack Kane, John McGuire, Andy Vyniski and Edward C. Tremmel, Jr.
The bureau will not cost taxpayers, Rogers said.
Nutley's professionals, business leaders, government officials, religious and civic organization leaders have been invited to contribute their talents and resources, Rogers said previously