Meeting to offer veterans info on rights, benefits


SAYERVILLE — The American Legion Post No. 211 will host an all-day informational seminar for veterans Wed., July 29 at its MacArthur Avenue building.

The event, which will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., is intended to give insight into the rights and benefits that veterans have earned through their military service.

Post Commander Art Valentino, who has been working to make veterans aware of the upcoming event, said the event is intended to answer the questions of all veterans, not just American Legion members.

Representatives of several different organizations will be on hand to cover a wide spectrum of topics, ranging from educational benefits to sports. The Disabled American Veterans mobile office van and state commanderwill be present, as well as the Veterans Administration (VA) mobile van. The VA’s War Illness Outreach office will be present, along with the VA’s administrative director, and state commanders for both the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars. There will also be ladies auxiliaries represented.

Since veterans receive only a brief highlighted description of their rights and benefits upon return military service, the meeting will offer a chance to delve into specific details.

“They give the highlights and that’s about it, so by having all these organizations come together, we will cover all veterans, and if there are any questions on their benefits — what they’re entitled to, who they have to see to get this information, or where they have to go — everything will be available to them,” Valentino said.

Valentino is hoping for a large turnout, given the wide area the meeting is intended to cover. He personally delivered posters to several towns in Middlesex County.

Dignitaries are expected including Sayreville Mayor Kennedy O’Brien and possibly elected state officials.

“Sayreville is good to its veterans,” said Valentino. “[The town] works closely with us.”

The American Legion is a nonprofit community service organization devoted to helping wartime veterans. The organization has nearly three million members, including both men and women. There are nearly 15,000 American Legion posts worldwide.

The organization is hosting six similar meetings throughout New Jersey in 2009.

“This year we got a big push on it,” Valentino said of the outreach effort.

The push derived from veterans contacting various organizations individually, but not finding appropriate answers. The meetings will aim to provide these answers.

“There are people in your town who don’t know what’s going on, and this will help,” Valentino said.

The post is located at 240 MacArthur Ave.