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Morris County opens new Veterans services office and VA outpatient clinic

MORRIS PLAINS, NJ (Morris County) – The Morris County Board of Freeholders and representatives of the Veterans Administration and officials of the veterans’ group Rolling Thunder Inc., and other military veterans participated in the opening ceremony held Wednesday afternoon outside of the West Hanover Avenue center.

“This is all about making sure we provide quality services for our veterans here in Morris County, to ensure they have a place to get the services they need and the medical care they deserve,’’ said Freeholder Director Doug Cabana.

“My wish is that all of our heroes come through the doors of this center and feel the respect and gratitude we have for their service, and know there always will be a cup of coffee and a warm smile for them from someone who is there to help.’’

The new Morris County Veterans Services Center/VA Clinic is located at 540 W Hanover Ave. in a dedicated section of the Morris View Healthcare Center.  It is three times larger than the county’s former Veterans Services/VA Clinic quarters in the nearby county’s Human Services building, where the veterans’ clinic shared space with other county agencies.

The new center has a meeting room for use by veterans or staff, and provides a space where veterans can congregate and socialize while waiting for their appointments. There also much more room for enhanced programs, and allows for the addition of two staff members with bi-lingual capabilities.

Plans call for improved building access for clients, especially those who are disabled, and additional handicapped parking.

The larger space will allow the county to increase partnerships with community organizations who serve veterans and offer easy links to a wide array of services in one location.

Rolling Thunder Inc. held a “Missing Man Ceremony’’ and unveiling, and dedication of a Chair of Honor, ’’which calls attention to soldiers who have been killed in action, held as prisoners of war, or whose remains have not been recovered.

Representing Rolling Thunder were Gus Dante, a Vietnam-era U.S. Army veteran, who is the organization’s government affairs representative; Joseph Kotch, U.S. Navy Vietnam War veteran, who served on the group’s governing board; and Elaine Martin, national secretary of the group’s POW/MIA Chair of Honor Committee.

The moving ceremony centered around a simple round table, with an empty glass and plate, white tablecloth, burning candle, red rose in a vase with a red ribbon, all set for a returning serviceman or servicewoman who has not come home. For more details about the Missing Man Ceremony visit: www.rollingthunderfl8.com/en/93-sidebar-left/82-missing-man-table-honors-ceremony.html

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By: Jay Edwards Follow on Twitter | Like on Facebook

(Photo: Courtesy Morris County: Vietnam Veteran Joseph Kotch performs the Missing Man Ceremony with Elaine Martin narrating. Both are from Rolling Thunder, Inc. They also dedicated a Chair of Honor to the center, in memory of soldiers who have given the ultimate sacrifice, been held as Prisoners of War, or listed as Missing in Action, whose remains have not been recovered. A grand opening ceremony was held for the new Veterans Service Office and Veterans Administration Outpatient Clinic by the Morris County Department of Human Services on Wednesday, June 6, 2018. The office is located in the same building as Morris View Healthcare Center, at 540 W Hanover Ave., Morris Plains.)