Thirty local veterans received the Burlington County Military Service Medal at the county’s annual ceremony on Nov. 10.
“When your nation called, you did not hesitate,” said Evelyn Rosado, division head of military and veterans services. “You answered the call just as those who served before you, and those who serve today.”
“There were times when the American public did not properly thank the men and women who protect our nation,” she added, “and today’s event is simply a reminder that we have not forgotten, and we do appreciate your service.”
“Recognizing these vets is more important than ever because we know that their numbers are quickly dwindling,” said County Commissioner Allison Eckel in her welcome remarks.
“The Military Service Medal was created in 2001 to let veterans know that they are not forgotten, and that their county is here to assist them if needed.”
So far this year, the county’s division of military and veterans services has helped county veterans obtain more than $12 million in compensation and benefits. Eckel recognized the county clerk’s office for issuing Gold Star Family ID cards to the spouses, domestic and civil union partners and children of military members who died while serving on active duty.
“The free identification cards enable its Gold Star families to receive certain discounts or courtesies, including free admission to federal and state parks and recreation areas, free adoptions at our county animal shelter and free admission to the New Jersey State Museum and our historic prison museum in Mount Holly,” Eckel noted.
“We can never repay the debt we owe to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country, but the ID cards are a small way to honor them and extend support to their families wherever possible.”
Any county veteran with an honorable discharge is eligible for the medal, along with deceased residents who served. The recognition allows the county to honor military service and by registering, it also helps the county’s office of military and veteran services keep vets and their families informed about programs and services available to them.
Medal registration forms can be completed online at the county’s website or are available at the county’s military and veterans services office.
After veterans received their medals from Eckel and County Commissioner Director Dan O’Connell, Rosado had one thing more to say.
“I remind you, don’t take America’s freedom for granted, our veterans fought for it.”