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Burlington County encourages residents to help honor veterans and military families

Upcoming events include medal ceremony and operation green light

Although Veteran’s Day is observed on Nov. 11, Burlington County residents don’t need to wait until then to honor the men and women who served selflessly in our nation’s Armed Forces.

“Nov. 11 may be set aside as Veterans Day, but it’s our heartfelt belief we should be honoring our veterans, active-duty and reserve service members every single day of the year,” said Burlington County Commissioner Director Dan O’Connell. “It is because of those who wore the uniforms of our armed services that we continue to enjoy the many freedoms that are the hallmarks of our democracy. We must remember that and continue to do all we can to honor them and their service.”

Honoring Veterans with Preston Sharp

Among the upcoming events that Burlington County residents can participate in is a veterans’ tribute with Preston Sharp, a 17-year-old Redding, California resident, who has traveled to cemeteries across the nation to lay carnations and flags on veterans’ graves. The teen started performing this service at age 10 and has placed more than 180,000 flags and flowers on graves in 48 states.

New Jersey is expected to become the 49th state Preston has traveled to on Nov. 9, when he comes to Burlington County to honor veterans buried at Lakeview Memorial Park, 1300 Route 130 North in Cinnaminson. It is the only New Jersey stop and the teen plans to complete his 50-state tour the following day in Delaware.

Preston is seeking help from local veterans and residents Those interested in volunteering are asked to gather at Lakeview at 9:30 a.m. There will be a brief ceremony before flags and carnations are distributed.

“Properly honoring our nation’s veterans is a responsibility we all should share and we’re incredibly grateful that Preston selected our county to visit and perform this incredible service,” said Burlington County Commissioner Allison Eckel, the liaison to Military and Veterans Services. “We want to thank Preston and encourage those who are available to join him on Nov. 9 and honor and remember our veterans with this small service.”

State Senator Troy Singleton also praised Preston for performing this service.

“Preston Sharp reminds us that we all have a sacred duty to honor and remember those who served and sacrificed for our nation,” said Singleton, whose office has helped recruit volunteers. “We believe Preston’s service can inspire others to perform similar acts of patriotism and respect for veterans and we hope as many people as possible will join him and honor the heroes at rest in Lakeview.”

Burlington County Medal Ceremony

Thirty local veterans from our community will be receiving the Burlington County Military Service Medal during the County’s annual Veterans Medal Ceremony, which will be held on Nov. 10 at 11 a.m. in the auditorium of the Burlington County Library in Westampton.

“Burlington County is proud to recognize the men and women who have answered the call to defend our nation,” said Eckel. “These medals are one way for our county to thank our veterans for all they have done and sacrificed. We want them all to know their service will not be forgotten and our county is here to assist them if needed.”

Burlington County has awarded more than 10,000 Military Service medals to county veterans since the program launched in 2002. Any veteran living in Burlington County with an honorable discharge is eligible for the decoration, along with deceased veterans who resided in the county.

Medal registration forms are available at the Burlington County Military and Veterans Services office and can be obtained by calling (609) 265-5008. The form can also be completed online at https://www.co.burlington.nj.us/547/Veterans-Services.

The medal allows the county to honor veterans’ military service and by registering it also helps the Burlington County Office of Military and Veteran Services keep veterans and their families informed about programs and services available to them.

So far this year, the Military and Veterans Services office has assisted Burlington County veterans obtain close to $12 million in compensation and benefits.

Operation Green Light for Veterans

Burlington County residents can also honor veterans from their own homes and workplaces by participating in Operation Greenlight, a new collaborative initiative created by the National Association of Counties.

From Nov. 7 through Nov. 13, residents are encouraged to display green lights or change at least one light bulb inside or outside their house to a green bulb to show support for military veterans and their families.

Burlington County plans to participate by displaying green lights at the Burlington County Human Services Building in Westampton, and the commissioners hope residents will share their participation on social media and use the hashtag #BurlcoOperationGreenLight.

“We want to make sure our veterans and their families know that their service mattered and that all of Burlington County is grateful for their sacrifices,” Eckel said. “This is a simple way for us to show support and encourage veterans to avail themselves of the resources we have available for them.”

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