County helps veterans with available services

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  • PHOTOS BY CHRIS WYMAN. Assemblywoman Alison McHose shares a meal with Vietnam-era Air Force veteran Joe Mora of Ogdensburg during the Sussex County Veteransí Picnic at the American Legion Post in Wantage.

  • Photo by Chris Wyman Army Veteran and Freeholder Director Richie Vohden and his wife Faith shared stories with veterans and their families during the Sussex County Veteransí Picnic at the American Legion Post in Wantage.

  • Photo by Chris Wyman At right, Sussex County Freeholder Phil Crabb listens to concerns of a Vietnam-era veteran.

By Chris Wyman

About 125 veterans and their family members attended a cookout in their honor at The American Legion, Pvt. Charles Auberger Post Number 213, in Wantage on Saturday.

With music provided by Mingo Lodge, dozens of picnic tables covered with a canopy were alive with conversation as the vets shared stories and their concerns with representatives the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the New Jersey Department of Military Affairs, the Sussex County Division of Senior Services, the Sussex County Municipal Alliance, and the Sussex County Mental Health Board.

The event was the first of its kind and was sponsored by the Sussex County Department of Human Services, Division of Senior Services, the Municipal Alliance and the Veterans Committee. Representing state and county governments were Assemblywoman Alison McHose, Freeholder Director Richie Vohden, and Freeholder Phil Crabb.

Although organizers were hoping that recent members of the military would attend, the vast majority of the veterans were from the Vietnam War era, along with several veterans of the Korean War.

Frank Quadrino represented U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the VA New Jersey Health Care System. About the free and discounted programs especially prepared for veterans, Quadrino said the programs are available to all honorably discharged veterans but first, “They have to get into the system,” meaning each veteran must take the first steps to register with the Veterans Administration.

Several tables of literature and “goodies” were free for the taking, including booklets describing each of the available programs. According to Quadrino, for those who could not attend, one of the first places to start learning about the programs is at the VA’s website,, where vets can find information about health care, benefits, and even burials and memorials. The required forms for most programs also are found on the site.

There is even a Veterans Crisis Line 1-800-273-8255 (Press Option 1) for those with critical needs and problems. Sussex County veterans may use VA facilities in New Jersey and in nearby New York state as well.

In addition to help with college tuition, certain occupations also can be eligible for on-the-job training financial assistance. During the program, Lorraine Hentz, director of the Sussex County Division of Senior Services, awarded door prizes including bags of tools, many of which were donated by County Clerk Jeff Parrott.

Veterans also were encouraged to contact the County Clerk’s office to secure official Sussex County Veteran’s identification cards, which are honored throughout the county and neighboring areas for discounts at many area stores and businesses. During the presentation, one veteran said that he used the card just the day before to purchase an electrical generator for the upcoming storm season.

For additional information about services offered to veterans, call the Sussex County Department of Human Services, Division of Senior Services at 973-579-0555 or via email at

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