NEW JERSEY – Almost 50,000 veterans living in Sussex, Morris, Hunterdon and Warren counties would have easier access to care, counseling and assistance with the establishment of a new Vet Center to serve the northwestern portion of the state.
Senator Steve Oroho, Assemblyman Parker Space, and Assemblyman Hal Wirths sponsor concurrent resolutions urging the Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington to fill the void in the region with a new center, which would be the sixth in the state. The announcement coincides with National Vietnam War Veterans Day on March 29.
“There’s no question we need a Vet Center is this part of the state,” Oroho (R-24) said. “There is a significant veterans’ population across New Jersey, and the current distribution of VA centers simply cannot meet the demand.
“Vet Centers have earned sterling reputations for their commitment to supporting all veterans and their families. The vets in this part of the state deserve that convenient access to the myriad of services they have earned,” said Oroho, sponsor of SCR-146.
The LD 24 lawmakers cite bipartisan support for their initiative, and are working with New Jersey’s federal delegation to build backing for a new Vet Center in the area.
The VA’s Vet Center program was established in 1979. Centers offer community-based counseling and wide range of social and psychological services. Available benefits at Vet Centers include professional readjustment counseling to veterans and families, military sexual trauma counseling, and bereavement counseling for families who experience an active duty death.
“In this district, we couldn’t be more proud of the contributions and sacrifices of our veterans,” said Assemblyman Space, who joins Assemblyman Wirths to sponsor ACR-212. “We are committed to ensuring they receive the aid and assistance they have been promised, especially now, during the pandemic, as many veterans have experienced hypervigilance and anxiety in an unpredictable environment. Veterans who had been doing well before the virus outbreak now require a helping hand. The obvious need for a new Vet Center prompted our call to the Department of Veterans Affairs.”
The centers help veterans and families overcome barriers that impede them from using helpful services, including access during non-traditional hours – after the usual close of business and on Saturdays. All services without time limitation and at no cost to the veterans.
“Myself and my District 24 colleagues agree with local veterans group leaders on the immediate need for a local Vet Center,” Wirths said. “Every veteran faces a unique set of challenges after returning from serving the nation. For many vets and their families, the path to post-military life is more manageable thanks to help from a Vet Center. It is our intent to convince the Veterans Administration to share our view that the best way to meet our nation’s commitment to veterans is the addition of a Vet Center in this part of the state.”