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Veterans can access services from various organizations during Stand Down

 

By ALAN KARMIN
Correspondent

American Legion Joyce Kilmer Post 25 will host a Stand Down to serve at-risk and homeless veterans.

From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m June 24, the legion, located at 4 JFK Dr. in Milltown, will help attendees with benefits, claims and other services as needed.

A number of organizations including the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Department of Veterans Affairs, Disabled American Veterans, American Red Cross, New Jersey Veterans Network, Community Hope, New Jersey State Parole, New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, and the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office are combining efforts “to provide services, clothing, food and other resources to our most at-risk veterans and their families,” according to a statement from Bob Looby of the American Legion and Veterans Services Council Member to the Governor’s Office of the State of New Jersey.

                Services available to the veterans include the Veterans Diversion Program (VDP) that can play an important role in assisting at-risk veterans who come in contact with the court system.

                According to a spokesperson from the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, Detective Ivis Coghan, the VDP is geared to keeping veterans out of jail.

“The objective of the program is to provide much-needed counseling and treatment services to at-risk and homeless veterans who served this country and keep them out of jail and out of the court system,” he said.

                Signed into law by Gov. Chris Christie in 2017, the VDP is a diversionary program designed to keep eligible criminal defendants in New Jersey out of jail by allowing them to complete a period of probation.

                The Stand Downs were typically one- to three-day regional events, but due to COVID and other unforeseen impediments to hosting the larger events, have more recently become mobile events taking place in the local towns to assist with screening, benefits, and services for those in need.

For more information, contact Bob Looby at 908-894-0746 or r.looby@njamericanlegion.org, or Ron Dixon at 732-404-7445 or rdixonmcpo@hotmail.com

 

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