Jewish War Veterans talk about patriotism

The Jewish War Veterans share some of their recent contributions during the orginization’s 120 years of patriotic service.

The Jewish War Veterans Furer-Barag-Wolf Post 126 in Cherry Hill was re-chartered in 1994 by Robert Richter, who served during the Korean War and is the national membership chairman for the Jewish War Veterans, and Arthur Seltzer, a former state commander in 1996 and 1997.

Through the team’s efforts to restore the post, four years later it became the largest and most active post in the country, according to Richter. The JWV have posts all over the country, and have more than 120 years of patriotic service in the U.S under their belt, giving back to veterans through donations and various fundraising events.

The group has participated in a plethora of activities around the community. Jefferson Hospital, formerly known as Kennedy, reached out to the JWV 15 years ago in regard to setting up a program that acknowledged patients of the hospital who are veterans by giving them Camden County medals.

‘’We are always giving back to military members as well as veterans,’’ retired Air Force Col. and member of JWV executive board Nelson Mellitz said.

In addition to supporting in Cherry Hill, the group also travels outside of the community. About four times a year, the JWV go to Vineland to visit the Vineland Veterans Memorial Home and sponsor bingo nights, barbeques and more for the senior veterans.

The organization also donates to national programs, such as “Heroes to Heroes,” that send warriors with PTSD and physical ailments to Israel to befriend Israeli vets who have similar challenges. Another organization the group supports is “Pets for Vets,” which helps raise money to buy and train companion dogs for vets with PTSD. The first female commander for the post, Selina Kanowitz, who served in the first Gulf War, is an advocate of the organization and has helped raise donations.

In the past, the JWV have held dinners for more than 300 troops at a time hosted by the Palace of Asia in Pennsauken. Working out an arrangement with the commanders of Fort Dix, active military troops from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst boarded buses to attend a surprise Thanksgiving dinner. The military members enjoyed dinner and were provided with bags of toiletries and nonperishable food to take overseas.

“They cooked Thanksgiving meals that were just as good as my wife’s,” Richter joked.

Richter encourages younger generations in the military to remain patriotic and give back to the community when possible.

“The mission of the Jewish War Veterans is to do these things. We were born with patriotism in our blood. We felt it was important to serve our veterans and active duty troops and support Israel,” Richter said.

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