Nutley’s War Veterans now have a military affairs bureau to help them in all phases of their civilian lives.
The Military and Veterans Affairs Bureau was enacted by the Nutley Board of Commissioners Tuesday night, according to Nutley Commissioner Steven Rogers, director of the Department of Public Affairs.
The bureau will provide legal help, assist veterans in finding employment, provide financial planning, educational benefits, and have counseling for returning veterans, their spouses and their children, according to the official resolution.
The counseling is for combat- and non-combat-related issues, and counseling is also planned for family members of veterans on deployment, the official resolution says.
Veterans, spouses and children will get basic health care checks, and help retaining their homes if there is a financial problem. Veterans families will be assisted in maintaining their homes also, according to the resolution.
The veterans attending Tuesday night's meeting all said their various groups would help out. The veterans represent VFW Post No. 493, AMVETS Post No. 30 and the local American Legion Post, among many area veterans groups. The veterans there were Darrel W. Root, Fred Penaranda, Jack Kane, John McGuire, Andy Vyniski and Edward C. Tremmel, Jr.
While Rogers moved the resolution establishing the bureau, he said all of the five commissioners have served veterans.
“You all have given so much,” Rogers said to the other Commissioners Tuesday night. “This has been a cooperative effort.”
The bureau will not cost taxpayers, Rogers said, and will address the needs of veterans.
Nutley's professionals, business leaders, government officials, religious and civic organization leaders will be invited to contribute their talents and resources, Rogers said in an interview.
Rogers is a retired Navy Commander whose son who is a Marine combat veteran.
Mayor Alphonse Petracco said Tuesday night that his experiences helping veterans have left an emotional mark on him.
"Even if we just donate a couple of trays of food, we always get so much gratitude," Petracco said.
He said he has seen statistics about an alarming number of active duty soldiers committing suicide.
"This tells me that we, as a country, are not doing the job," Petracco said. "We have to everything we can as a municipality."
The entire Nutley Board of Commissioners privately thanked the veterans in attendance Tuesday night, after posing for a photo with the group.