The GI Go Fund Directors
The Legacy of Frank Lautenberg . . . . . .
Jack Fanous, Executive Director of the GI Go Fund and Burlington County Native, Receives Russ Berrie Award for Making a Difference . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Executive Director firstname.lastname@example.org
GI Go Fund and City of Newark
Jack Fanous Recognized by the Brookings Institute for “Makes a Difference” E xpanding Manufacturing Opportunities page 4 for Veterans . .
Deputy Director email@example.com
“Jeans For Troops” events page 14
Communications Director/ Transition Times Managing Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
Job and GI Bill Fair page 17
Nationwide “Jeans For Troops” Fundraising Drive Featured over 1,000 Schools, Companies, and Government Agencies Supporting Returning Veterans in Honor of Memorial Day. . . . . . . . . . . 8 Over 500 Veterans Searching for Work After Sequestration and Hurricane Sandy Fill GI Go Fund’s 5th Annual Veterans “Job and GI Bill Fair” in Newark . . . . . 17 Johnson & Johnson, Ernst & Young and Citi Partner With The GI Go Fund to Help Veterans Improve Their Resumes and Build Their Skills During Workshops . . . . . . 20 World War II Veteran Reunited With His Lost Dog Tags after 69 years on Anniversary of VE Day. . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
Website: www.gigofund.org Contact Telephone Number: (973) 802-1479 The GI Go Fund P.O. Box 1777 New Brunswick, NJ 08903
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Reunited with Lost Dog Tags page 22
GI Go Fund teams up with Goldman Sachs and The Mission Continues to Assemble Hundreds of Care Packages for Homeless Veterans. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
Jack Fanous, Executive Director of the GI Go Fund and Burlington County Native, Receives Russ Berrie Award for Making a Difference Fanous accepts $25,000 award on behalf of the veterans he serves and vows to pledge all of his award earnings towards his organization; Mr. Fanous will open a new facility in South Jersey to service veterans in the Fort Dix region By Staff Writer Jack Fanous, the Founder and Executive Director of The GI Go Fund whose organization has changed the lives of thousands of veterans, was a recipient of the “Russ Berrie Award for Making a Difference” at the 17th Annual Award Ceremony held by the Russell Berrie Foundation at Ramapo College.
assisting thousands of Jersey vets with finding work, going to college, getting healthcare, and finding housing.
Fanous’ organization has created an incredible partnership with Newark Mayor Cory Booker, where they have provided veterans with cutting edge services Mr. Fanous acceptthat have led to terrifed the award, along with ic advances, including a generous gift of $25,000 Executive Director Jack Fanous receives Russ this past fall when the from the Russell Berrie Berrie Award for Making a Difference from Newark Fire Department Foundation, and he has Angelica Berrie(left), president of the Russell Berrie inducted an all veteran given his gift to his orga- Foundation, and Peter P. Mercer (right), president of class of recruits. Among nization to continue the Ramapo College of New Jersey his most recent work was mission of helping veterproviding veterans who ans returning back home to New Jersey and throughwere devastated by Superstorm Sandy with thousands out the country. of dollars in supermarket gift cards, as well as thousands of new clothes, blankets, and emergency supFanous, a Marlton resident and native of Burlingplies to families in immediate need, and hundreds of ton County, founded the organization in 2006 in honor toys for their children during the holidays. of his childhood friend, Lt. Seth Dvorin, who was killed in Iraq. His organization has led the way for veterans, The organization has achieved great things for
Left: Jack Fanous is joined by GI Go Fund Deputy Director Alex Manis; Sue Neiderer, mother of Lt. Seth Dvorin, a former Russ Berrie award recipient whose death in 2004 was the catalyst for the founding of the GI Go Fund; and Director of Communications James Fanous Right: Jack Fanous speaks with Senator Frank Lautenberg (left) to over 400 veterans during Job and GI Bill Fair at Rutgers-Newark veterans in the area, and now Mr. Fanous and the GI Go Fund will be opening an office in south Jersey to provide their wide array of services to veterans in and around the Fort Dix region. In addition, his organization will be hosting various hiring events in the area to support those veterans, as well as offering support to veterans and their families who were affected by Hurricane Sandy.
ile, targeted approach that not only serves the specific population, but does so in a way that costs the taxpayers no money. And now, by allowing us to service them back home, our veterans have paved the way to the next century of providing services by creating a smarter government.” The Russ Berrie Award for Making a Difference celebrates New Jersey’s unsung heroes—everyday people whose extraordinary volunteer efforts have made a real difference in the lives of others. Created in 1997, the annual award program honors eleven individuals who have performed outstanding community service or an act of heroism. A selection committee comprised of New Jersey business leaders and professionals chooses the unsung heroes from a pool of several hundred nominees During a Midnight Mission and awards their fi- for Homeless Veterans, Jack nal selections with Fanous provides a care cash prizes to cele- package from Operation brate the work that Gratitude to a homeless they have done in vet outside Newark’s Penn their community.. Station
The efforts of Mr. Fanous with the GI Go Fund have received national recognition, as his work was highlighted on the ABC reality show “Secret Millionaire”, as well as CNN, MSNBC, Fox News and the Fox Business Channel. Mr. Fanous has also testified before the US Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs regarding his solutions to veterans’ issues. “I do not accept this award for myself, but rather for the millions of veterans who have sacrificed their lives and their futures for our security,” said Fanous. “Veterans have once again led the way by revolutionizing the way municipal governments distribute services to their citizens.What we have been able to do as a nonprofit in partnership with Mayor Booker is utilize city resources to improve the lives of veterans. In doing so, we have proven that if a city government empowers nonprofits to service other communities such as seniors, people with disabilities, children, and even disaster victims, we can have a more cost-effective, ag-
GI Go Fund and City of Newark Recognized by the Brookings Institute for Expanding Manufacturing Opportunities for Veterans Washington Based Policy Institute Report Highlights the Capacity for Veterans To Become Leaders in New Manufacturing Opportunities By James Fanous The 60-page report published this week by the Washington DC based think tank highlighted the strengths that the city already has in place for the coming wave of manufacturing positions in the country, as well as how it can expand on its existing programs to improve the city’s employment prospects in the field.
The Brookings Institute, one of the nation’s leading policy institutes, issued its latest report exploring the capacity for the city of Newark to become a leader in employment for new manufacturing jobs. Among its findings was the ability to create
opportunities for veterans in these new positions by implementing the innovative strategies put forth from the GI Go Fund that would propel Newark and its veterans to the forefront of the coming manufacturing boom.
As part of its plan, Brookings encouraged the city to promote hiring efforts to create new ways to enlist the 10,000 veterans living in the Newark area to work in manufacturing. After extensive conversations with Jack Fanous, the Executive Director of the GI Go Fund, whose partnership with Newark Mayor Cory Booker has created a model for municipal veterans’ services, Brookings concluded that these efforts should be expanded in Newark and serve as a model for the rest of the country. The Brookings study comes out during a time when policy ex-
perts are exploring ways to spark the second coming of American manufacturing and revitalize its export economy. Some say the U.S. is now poised to see more manufacturing return here as production costs climb in areas like China, as well as growing global instability and falling energy costs here at home. According to Brookings, the city can develop multi-week skills training program for veterans, with the goal of integrating the training with recruitment and placement through employer/manufacturer engagement, which could be designed and handled by the GI Go Fund in collaboration with regional and statewide partners. The ultimate outcome from this training will be to link our veterans, the individuals that have the most experience with working with new age technologies through their time in the service, with the coming boom in manufacturing through 21st century technologies such as additive manufacturing (also known as 3-D printing), databasing, and computer programming.
the productivity and abilities of local businesses, both big and small. Now, thanks in part to the findings of the Brookings Institute, we will be able to usher in the new century of employment opportunities with the veterans who helped make this country what it is today.”
sure it has an equally vibrant future. This partnership with Brookings and Newark ‘s academic institutions, nonprofits and local manufacturers will enable us to leverage the brightest opportunities for Newark ‘s manufacturing sector and continue our economic growth.
“My administration has worked tirelessly to create jobs and bring new companies and development to our City,” said Mayor Booker about what his city has achieved in employment opportunities. “The relocation of companies like Manischewitz and Panasonic USA, the first two new hotels downtown in 40 years, the rise of affordable and market-rate housing throughout our City’s neighborhoods, and the world-class events being hosted at the Prudential Center speak to our success.We also recognize Newark ’s historic past as a manufacturing center, and we’re working hard to en-
The study was conducted by researchers after a year-long survey of data and interviews with area manufacturers and employment advocates. One of Washington’s oldest think tanks, Brookings conducts research and education in the social sciences, primarily in economics, metropolitan policy, governance, foreign policy, and global economy and development. Brookings has earned countless accolades in its history, including being named in the University of Pennsylvania’s 2012 Global Go To Think Tanks Report as the most influential think tank in the world.
“Veterans are the engine that will restart our economy,” said Fanous. “Just as they have done in the past; from the end of WWII, when veterans came home to build our nation’s infrastructure from coast to coast, to the present day, no group of individuals can be more qualified to lead the way in implementing and improving the technologies of the future more than our veterans. We have created an incredible model here in Newark with Mayor Booker that highlights the capacity our veterans have to improving
Hundreds of employees at One Newark Center in Newark, NJ participate in the “Jeans for Troops” drive for
Nationwide “Jeans For Troops” F over 1,000 Schools, Companies, a Supporting Returning Veterans i Over 140,000 Employees from coast to coast participated in program benefiting the GI Go Fund to help them in their efforts to assist veterans with their needs By Staff Writer Over 1,000 schools, companies, and government agencies took part in a nationwide movement to support returning veterans this Memorial Day and help them get the assistance they need as they come home. From schools and teacher associations to government agencies and Fortune 100 companies, em-
ployers of all kinds participated in the GI Go Fund “Jeans for Troops” Drive on Thursday, May 23 to help raise funds for veterans and their families. Employers from across the country allowed employees to wear jeans to work for a $5 donation to help the GI Go Fund further its mission of providing veterans with help finding employment and ed-
ucational opportunities, homelessness assistance, and connections to critical benefits. The program has enjoyed tremendous success in the past, as over 600 companies, schools, municipalities, and government agencies took part in the drive last year to raise over $175,000 for veterans. Participating employers from
returning veterans on May 23rd, 2013
s” Fundraising Drive Featured s, and Government Agencies s in Honor of Memorial Day 2012 included Johnson & Johnson, NJEA, Marsh & McLennan, Cablevision, and the Port Authority of NY/ NJ. This year, the drive will have over 140,000 employees from coast to coast joining the movement for our veterans, expanding the level of support for the organization to new bounds. “This Memorial Day, the community of GI Go supporters has grown to its largest ever, with over 140,000 people joining forces together with our organization to recognize the tremendous sacrifices
the members of our military have given for our freedoms,” said GI Go Fund Executive Director Jack Fanous. “I am so proud that a small effort that began with just a few participants has grown to a nationwide movement that is paying tribute and remembrance to our military.” The GI Go Fund is an organization on the cutting edge in providing support to veterans, providing veterans with innovative ways of finding employment, securing their educational and health benefits, as well as providing aid and as-
sistance to low income and homeless veterans. From collaborating with a city to make its newest class of firefighters feature all veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan to working with the VA to prevent a veteran who requested assistance via Twitter as he was losing his home, the GI Go Fund has changed the way veterans receive the support they need.Their approach to assisting veterans has been featured on several nationwide media outlets, including Fox News, the Associated Press, and on the ABC reality series “Secret Millionaire”, which
Jeans For troops The Jeans for Troops program owes much of its success to the hundreds of schools and school districts within the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) who have actively participated in the program. In photo, Wendell Steinhauer of the NJEA (3rd from left) joins Jack Fanous(2nd from left), Executive Director of the GI Go Fund, as well as GI Go’s Alex Manis and James Fanous during Jeans for Troops Day.
highlighted the group’s efforts with homeless veterans. In addition, the organization has done tremendous work for veterans who were affected by Hurricane Sandy, providing rapid response to victims of the storm by delivering thousands of blankets and needed clothing and other supplies to shelters across the region, as well as bringing Emergency Financial Assistance and Toys for the Holidays for the thousands of Veterans devastated by the storm in the months that followed.
“NJEA is proud to sponsor the GI Go Fund’s Jeans for Troops program,” said NJEA President Barbara Keshishian. “Our members, many of whom are veterans themselves, are committed to supporting our troops as a way of thanking them for their service.” The “Jeans for Troops” Drive occurs twice a year during the Memorial and Veterans Day holidays to help the veterans returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan, as well
The drive’s success is due in large part to the support of hundreds of schools from all across the country, who are supporting veterans through the fundraiser while using it as a teachable moment for their students to educate them about the sacrifices made by our military. This has been a guiding principle for schools participating in the program, especially for the NJEA, who alone has over 300 of its schools taking part in this effort of supporting our returning troops.
as veterans from all conflicts. The GI Go Fund has received an unprecedented level of support from employees across the country, and the continued support of America’s companies and schools will have an enormous impact on the lives of the millions of our nation’s veterans and their families. Members of the Association of the US Army participate in Jeans for Troops day on May 23rd, 2013.
Jeans for Troops
Florence V. Evans Elementary School in Marlton, NJ Holds “Jeans For Troops” Event with The GI Go Fund and Military Veterans in Honor of Memorial Day Hundreds of students, faculty, and staff at the Florence V. Evans Elementary School in Marlton, NJ showed their immense support and appreciation for our returning veterans and their families this Memorial Day by holding a special “Jeans for Troops” event at the school to support the GI Go Fund.
Students at the Florence V. Evans Elementary School in Marlton, NJ participated in a special “Jeans for Troops” day event at their school. lifetime of supporting our troops.” The school’s support for our military veterans this Memorial Day will not only help the veterans of today with their needs, but will also educate their students about the sacrifice our military makes every day that will help future generations of veterans get the support they deserve. The Florence V. Evans Elementary School is one of hundreds of schools in the state and across the country that is making a meaningful difference in the lives of veterans, both now and for years to come, and their support this Memorial Day will not be forgotten.
Principal Nick DiBlasi, along with GI Go Fund Executive Director Jack Fanous, Evesham Mayor Randy Brown and Assemblyman Christopher J. Brown joined the school’s over 500 students during the school function to recognize the tremendous sacrifices made by our military every day. The event also featured veterans of current and former conflicts, including Air Force SMSgt. Vincent Lommen, who were thanked by the students and staff for all that they have done for our country. “The community at Florence V. Evans School, the students, Principal Nick DiBlasi, and the entire township of Evesham paid the most patriotic and fitting tribute for Memorial Day that I have ever seen,” said Jack Fanous. “I am so proud to have been a part of it, and I am honored to be from the township of Evesham, one of the most patriotic townships in the country. These kids today learned a valuable lesson: the best way to pay tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice is by honoring the veterans who come home. I thank their teachers, their principal, and most importantly their parents for preparing them for a
Jeans For Troops Top 10 Participants Galena Park Independent School District (Houston, TX). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $4,087.35 Hamilton Township Education Association (Hamilton, NJ). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $3,032 East Brunswick School District (East Brunswick, NJ) .$2,672 Passaic Public Schools (Passaic, NJ). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $2,640 New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission. . . . . . . . . . . . . . $2,435 Passaic County Technical Institute. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $1,795.10 Sharyland ISD (Sharyland, TX) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $1,790 Port Authority of NY & NJ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $1,740 Marsh & McClennan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $1,700 Amboy Bank. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $1,675 *Honorable Mention- South Brunswick School District (South Brunswick, NJ). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $1,591
A Veteranâ€™s Unparalled Journey:
The Life of Senator Frank Lautenberg
With the passing of one of the most iconic members of the US Senate and the high chamberâ€™s last WWII Vet, we take a look at his incredible story and the legacy he will leave behind for all veterans By James Fanous When Frank Lautenberg called for a press conference last February to announce that he would not be seeking another term in the US Senate when his ends in January, 2015, it was not treated as the most groundbreaking of announcements. An 89-year-old Senator
announcing that he will not run for re-election when he turns 92, after already having battled illnesses over the past few years, was taken by many media outlets as a foregone conclusion rather than a breaking news event. However, to the people who gathered there at
the press conference in Paterson, and to the thousands of New Jersey and beyond who knew and admired him and his accomplishments, there was a deflating sense that the state was losing one of its most iconic figures. Moreover, all Americans, both Democrat and Republican, could not help but feel that they were losing one of the most important members of our government.
Lymphoma of the stomach, a cancer that is treatable but requires months of chemotherapy. Nevertheless, he came to the event stronger than ever, delivering a keynote address to the veterans with the same fire and passion that he did on the Senate floor when advocating for the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill. He wanted to explain to them that employment was absolutely essential, and the best way to ensure the future strength of our nation’s veterans.
Even after his announcement, there were still people who wished he would come back. He had retired once before in 2000 and came roaring back. He had recovered from leukemia and still managed to return to the Senate as fiery as ever. Surely, he would change his mind and run again.
“I’m here today because I think that it’s critical that we help people to get jobs after service. This is what the country owes them, to help them reconstruct their lives in a way that’s good for them and their families. I am pleased to be here today, and thank the institutions that are here to provide a better life for these veterans,” he said. “I encourage veterans to take advantage of the new G.I. Bill, get an education, and get a better means of providing for their families.”
Three months later, he was gone. There was an extreme atmosphere of devastation for everyone in the state when he passed. Despite his age, it was still difficult to imagine him gone. His persona of the constant fighter had given him an aura of invincibility, even in his final days. Nevertheless, even with him gone, his legacy and accomplishments will always have a lasting impact on this country.
He should know, as his use of the Montgomery G.I. Bill after World War II is the main reason why he was able to become a U.S. Senator. A native of Paterson, New Jersey, Senator Lautenberg joined the United States Army Signal Corps in World War II after graduating from Nutley High School.Then, financed by the G.I. Bill, he attended and graduated from Columbia University in 1949 with a degree in economics. He set out to make something of himself; to use the education he received to become successful, and to use his military experience to do it better than his classmates.
His life was full of achievement. From his earliest days serving in the Army during World War II to his soon to be final days in the US Senate, Frank Lautenberg has known success at every step of the way. And wherever he went, he was seen as the very model of accomplishment, and was deemed as one of the greatest veteran transition stories by all those who once wore this country’s uniform.
“When I was in the Army, I doubt if I could even spell Columbia, much less attend it,” said Lautenberg. “But the G.I. Bill gave me the opportunity to go, and I knew that I had to take it. It was a fairly easy decision, especially after spending the previous year in Europe fighting the war. It was that experience that I felt gave me a unique advantage when attending Columbia, and I have the original G.I. Bill to thank for that.”
Those things were evident when Frank Lautenberg walked into the Paul Robeson Campus Center in Rutgers-Newark in 2010 for the GI Go Fund’s 2nd Job and GI Bill Fair, as all the eyes in the room immediately began to focus on him. They were veterans of Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam, all there in attendance to find employment, hoping to receive an opportunity to provide for themselves and their loved ones. But before they began to look for the avenue that would help lead them to a successful transition back to civilian life, they wanted to gain some wisdom and inspiration from a man who has done it better than anyone.
With his military service completed and his education secured, Lautenberg set out to build a career. In 1952, he joined with two boyhood friends from his old neighborhood to found the nation’s first payroll services company, Automatic Data Processing. Lautenberg served as chairman and CEO, and along with his partners developed ADP into one of the largest computing services company in the world. By the 1970s, he had a flourishing business, one that he and his for-
Senator Lautenberg had been going through some difficult times before walking into the job fair that day. Just one month earlier, he was diagnosed with B-Cell
The Legacy of Frank Lautenberg Having gone through the difficulties of returning from battle himself, the Senator was keenly aware of what faced these men and women upon their return home. He understood that without steady, gainful employment, they would never be able to return effectively. He further understood that the best and quickest way to obtain employment was with a college education.
mer Army buddies could be proud of. He had employees in the tens of thousands working in regions across the country, building his business and his profits to soaring new heights. He was making money, terrific money. But to him, money and opportunity was never something he felt belonged solely to him. As his company was thriving, he watched the nation slowly slip into a stagnant state, where the country’s growth was slowing due to a recession and the state of New Jersey was battling a myriad of problems. He had no interest in sitting on his hands. In 1978, he entered public life. Running for his first public office, Lautenberg was elected to the Senate in 1982, being re-elected in 1988 and 1994. Over his first three terms in the U.S. Senate, Lautenberg built a solid record of accomplishment on a broad range of issues that touch the lives of New Jerseyans: helping to balance the federal budget, stopping aid to nations that support terrorism, getting drunk drivers off our roads, protecting our oceans and environment, and improving our transportation system. After a brief retirement, Lautenberg won a fourth term in 2002. During this term, two wars began overseas, and a new generation of servicemen had emerged.
When I was in the Army, I doubt if I could even spell Columbia, much less attend it,” said Lautenberg. “But the G.I. Bill gave me the opportunity to go, and I knew that I had to take it. 14
But many things had changed since the 1940’s. Most notably was the fact that the Montgomery G.I. Bill no longer was enough to pay for the high costs of tuition. In order for today’s veterans to receive the same benefit that existed back then, changes needed to happen. Such change occurred when the Senate introduced the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill, a comprehensive reform package that would allow veterans to have college tuition paid in full, a remarkable expansion of the benefit originally given to Senator Lautenberg and his fellow WWII veterans.And it was Lautenberg, among others, who fought to establish this change. “People with a college degree earn nearly double the salary of those who do not attend,” the Senator said during a floor speech in support of the bill.“And we must close the gap between the current cost of college and the amount that the current
The Legacy of Frank Lautenberg G.I. bill pays for. Remember, America once built what is now called ‘the greatest generation’. Now why, with all of the technology, with all of the richness that this country has, with all of the talent that this country has, that we can’t create another greatest generation.” While many in Congress felt that it was a noble and just cause, others tried to block it, claiming that the bill would be too expensive or that it will prevent retention among service members. Nevertheless, Senator Lautenberg and others pushed through, and the bill was passed into law in mid 2008.
As a veteran, who benefited tremendously from the G.I. Bill, I know first-hand how this measure will lift American families and benefit our economy.
stressed to the men and women in attendance what an education means in this country, and the vast amount of doors that can open up for them if they take advantage of the bill. “It is critical to help our veterans of today with education,” said Lautenberg at the Job Fair. “Over 400,000 veterans have shown interest in getting an education. So that is a significant contribution to the country as well as their families. So I want to encourage people to go out there, go to college, and make more money, and provide better means for you and your family.”
Frank Lautenberg’s ultimate legacy is just what a veteran can achieve when given just the slightest opportunities to succeed, a lesson that will withstand the test of time. The GI Go Fund looked to honor and celebrate all that he had done in his life by awarding him the 2012 “Veteran Lifetime Achievement Award” at its annual Veterans Day Gala on November 8th. However, the Senator was unable to attend the event because he was off fighting; this time for the millions of New Jersey residents whose lives were destroyed by Hurricane Sandy just days before.
“Starting today, this new G.I. Bill will officially begin providing new opportunities for thousands of veterans who otherwise may not have even considered pursuing the expensive cost of college.” Lautenberg said when the bill was passed “As a veteran, who benefited tremendously from the G.I. Bill, I know first-hand how this measure will lift American families and benefit our economy.There is no doubt that today’s veterans and their families have sacrificed a lot for our country, and with this new G.I. bill we are giving them something back.”
“America has lost a giant”, said GI Go Fund Executive Director Jack Fanous. “Senator Frank Lautenberg was one of New Jersey’s most committed citizens for so many decades. He served honorably in the United States Army during World War II, coming home as a young veteran and going to college on the GI Bill. He used the skills he acquired in the military and college to co-found the payroll company ADP right here in New Jersey that now employs over 57,000 people. He then dedicated his life to public service, displaying unparalleled leadership in the United States Senate for over three decades on issues ranging from veterans
His life’s work had been about turning his status as a military veteran into a true American success story, but his work in sponsoring and passing the New GI Bill showed that he was committed to giving the next generation of veterans the same opportunity that he had decades ago.Two years after the passage of the bill, Lautenberg was at the Job and GI Bill Fair advocating for veterans to take advantage of this opportunity. Standing tall at the podium, he spoke with conviction and determination, the same things that got him through the rigors of war and the trials of starting a business. He
Running The Legacy Head of Frank Lautenberg
Senator Frank Lautenberg (left) being interviewed by GI Go Fund Executive Director Jack Fanous for the “VeteransNOW” Radio show at the Newark Job and GI Bill Fair. Senator Lautenberg was one of the most prominent supporters of the organization’s events, as he felt that it was one of the most premiere ways of civilians offering much needed assistance to the veterans who were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for their country to seniors to women’s rights. Senator Lautenberg was one of America’s most progressive and forward thinking Senators, and will stand as one of the most inspirational figures in modern American history.
Americans, veterans and civilians alike, will never forget what he meant to this country.” And even with his retirement in 2015, the Senator vowed that he was not done yet. He spoke to his constituents and promised them that he was going to continue doing what he had been doing his whole life: treating every day as a new day to serve your community and your country.
“Veterans across the country have always had his unmatched life story to strive for, giving each and every one of them the belief that they can become the next Senator Frank Lautenberg themselves. He was an important mentor to me personally and to our entire organization, and was a steadfast partner in our commitment to finding 21st century solutions for our veterans by creating a smarter government. He has had a lasting impact on every area of this state, from the city of Newark in North Jersey to my hometown of Marlton in South Jersey and beyond. His legacy will forever be reflected in the lives he touched from his time in the service to his final days in the US Senate, and all
“This is not the end of anything, but rather the beginning of a two-year mission to pass new gun safety laws, protect children from toxic chemicals, and create more opportunities for working families in New Jersey,” he said. “I will be continuing on my mission to do the right thing whenever I can.” Even in the end, Frank Lautenberg was fighting for us all.
Over 500 Veterans Searching for Work After Sequestration and Hurricane Sandy Fill GI Go Fund’s 5th Annual Veterans “Job and GI Bill Fair” in Newark Job Fair Hosted by Mayor Cory Booker and The GI Go Fund featured over 75 companies, colleges, and support service organizations, as well as over 500 veterans looking for work By James Fanous The GI Go Fund, in partnership with Mayor Cory Booker, the City of Newark, Rutgers Office of Veteran and Military Programs and Services, and Rutgers-Newark, hosted their 5th annual “Job and GI Bill Fair” in Newark, NJ on March 18 from 10am2pm at Rutgers-Newark’s Paul Robeson Campus Center, 350 Martin Luther King Blvd. More than 75 companies, colleges, and support service organizations participated in this event, including Johnson & Johnson, PSEG, Verizon NJ, Cablevision, Bank of America, Port Authority of NY/NJ, FDNY, and the FBI. Companies were looking to hire qualified and hardworking veterans and to capitalize on the Returning Heroes
Justin Coburn, a Veteran Leader Corps member provided to the GI Go Fund from the Points of Light Community Blueprint program, registering a veteran prior to entering the 2013 Job and GI Bill Fair.
Running Job and GI Head Billl Fair and Wounded Warrior Tax Credits, which will provide a tax credit of up to $9,600 to employers who hire veterans. Johnson & Johnson, a company who has been recognized for its great leadership in hiring returning veterans, offered a wide array of employment opportunities at their Fortune 100 company to vets looking for work. “We love hiring veterans because, as one of the most diverse companies, we find that the military is one of the most diverse organizations in the world,” said Russ Clayton of Johnson & Johnson, an Army Veteran who served in Iraq. “They provide some of the greatest leaders in the world, people who know how to work in teams and drive results.They are dedicated to making people’s lives better, and that is what Johnson
& Johnson wants to do every day.We come to these Job Fairs, and every time we meet somebody who is so talented and has so many different skills that can only come from years of experience in the military. It’s amazing to see the amount of talent we do in just a few short hours, and we are glad to have the opportunity.” This event also continued on the GI Go Fund’s efforts of making
Al Sczweck of Johnson & Johnson meets with a veteran looking for a position at the company during The GI Go Fund’s 5th Annual “Job and GI Bill Fair” for Veterans on March 18, 2013.
Newark a Model City for Veterans by providing veterans with new and unique opportunities and services unlike any city in the country. The Job Fair actively recruited veterans to become members of the Newark Police Department to fulfill Mayor Booker’s pledge of adding over 50 new officers to the force, providing vets with information about the state’s Veterans Preference and the Civil Service Exam. This was a continuation of last year’s great achievement, as Newark and the GI Go Fund made history by becoming the first city to recruit all veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan to the newest class of firefighters for the Newark Fire Department. The 2013 “Job and GI Bill Fair” was the first major veterans hiring event since the Sequester went into effect on March 1st, which is leading to massive problems for current and former military personnel. As Sequestration causes hiring freezes, furloughs, termination of temporary employees and the canceling of certain equipment maintenance contracts in the Defense Department, this event helped the numerous veterans affected by the cuts with new employment opportunities from dozens of major companies in the area.
Job and GI Billl Fair
In addition, this Job Fair had in attendance countless veterans whose lives were devastated by Hurricane Sandy and the slow response by the federal government, where they found employment opportunities and links to FEMA, Department of Housing and Urban Development, and other critical services that will help get their lives back on track. “In a time when strong leadership is necessary, Washington DC has let us down, and the military that members of Congress swore an oath to care for suffers yet again,” said GI Go Fund Executive Director Jack Fanous. “So that is why in Newark, where we have built a Veteran Model City, businesses and community partners will come together to tell
Hundreds crowd Rutgers-Newark Paul Robeson Campus Center for The GI Go Fund’s 5th Annual “Job and GI Bill Fair” for Veterans on March 18, 2013. Washington that if you won’t work together to do your job to support our military veterans, then we will do it ourselves.” Unemployment rates for veterans, particularly for those who served in Iraq or Afghanistan, has often been higher than their civilian counterparts in recent years, something that has caused considerable strain for them and their young families. The Annual Job and GI Bill fair also had dozens of colleges and universities looking to enroll veterans who wish to utilize their Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits to earn their degree,
or use their VRAP benefits to receive retraining benefits for 21st century employment positions. Among the universities who attended were Rutgers University, Bloomfield College, Thomas Edison State College, Rider University, Princeton University, and St. Peter’s University. Sponsors and partners for the event include Johnson & Johnson, Rutgers University, Rutgers-Newark, PSEG, Verizon NJ , City of Newark, Greater Media NJ, NJ Chamber of Commerce, AXA Equitable, and the Newark One Stop Center for Career Development.
Johnson & Johnson, Ernst & Young and Citi Partner With The GI Go Fund to Help Veterans Improve Their Resumes and Build Their Skills During Workshops Two Employment Skills Workshops held at the corporate headquarters of Fortune 100 companies provides job tips and support to 120 veterans By Staff Writer two separate events at the corporate facilities of Fortune 100 companies. Johnson & Johnson, Ernst & Young, and Citi partnered with the GI Go Fund to host two Military Veterans Career Transition and Skills Development Workshops, one which was held at the Johnson & Johnson New Brunswick, NJ headquarters in March, and the other held at the Ernst & Young Times Square headquarters in April. These events gave veterans returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan an opportunity to meet with fellow veterans who serve in management positions at each of these companies to learn more about finding employment. Russ Clayton, Army Veteran and Senior Manager Supplier Governance at Johnson & Johnson, instructs veterans about translating their military skills for civilian employers at the Military Veterans Career Transition and Skills Development Workshop With so many veterans looking for work, one of the most important steps on the road to reemployment is connecting to employers who have the knowledge of how to improve their skills, and the job
openings that can be filled with the most qualified people. 120 veterans were given unique opportunities to receive job searching assistance from high level employees, many of whom are veterans themselves, at
The workshops specifically showed veterans how they can translate their military experience into a civilian career, provided assistance with veterans looking to improve their resumes, and gave veterans the chance to share their transition stories with other veterans who have successfully transferred their military background into steady employment. The event in New Brunswick featured over 30
veterans, while the event at Times Square featured nearly 100 veterans. Catalin Lascu, an Army Veteran who served in Iraq who attended the event at Johnson & Johnson, said that the workshop was very beneficial for him, and that the companies responsible for the program, especially Johnson & Johnson, did a great job of showing their commitment to hiring veterans. “A lot of companies talk about helping veterans, but J&J really put its money where its mouth is,” said Lascu. “I see the way they operate, the way they treat veterans in their company and the ones outside the company as well. They brought us in and showed us exactly what we can do to maximize our skillset, and made us confident that we are capable of getting any job out there.They really did a great job all around.” Mark Pollard, a Marine Veteran who attended the first event, helped recruit veterans to attend the event in Times Square. He felt that there was a lot of information that veterans could benefit from at this event. “They really gave good advice,” he said. “It wasn’t things that come easy to everyone. They had a lot of tips for finding a job that would be useful to veterans and civilians, but they gave vets particularly useful advice on how to dress and the right things to say. And it is especially good since it was all coming from another vet who has been there like you and succeeded; you know he or she is giving the right info.” According to reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, veteran un-
Veterans from Ernst & Young speak to young vets looking for resume writing and job-hunting assistance during a workshop break-out session at their headquarters employment rates have often been far higher than their civilian counterparts. Opportunities are available for veterans to connect to solid employment opportunities with employers willing to step up, including the Returning Heroes and Wounded Warrior Tax Credits, which will provide a tax credit of up to $9,600 to employers who hire veterans. The GI Go Fund is committed to linking veterans to the best employment opportunities and support to find them a steady, solid career. Workshops like these have been a staple of the organization’s efforts to help veterans better prepare for the job hunt, working with corporate leaders like Johnson & Johnson, PSEG, and Prudential to provide resume writing and job interview assistance to young vets
transitioning home, and will continue to hold these workshops numerous times throughout the year. “We are very excited to have the chance to give these veterans the tools they need from the best of the best,” said GI Go Fund Executive Director Jack Fanous. “Our priority is finding veterans smarter jobs for the new age economy, and there is no greater way than to work with smarter companies like Johnson & Johnson that lead the way in both hiring veterans and creating 21st century employment opportunities. We want to make sure we not only help veterans translate their skills, but do so in a way that will attract them to the top companies, and we will continue to find new pathways to get veterans into the jobs of the next generation.”
World War II Veteran Reunited With His Lost Dog Tags after 69 years on Anniversary of VE Day In a surprise ceremony on the Anniversary of Victory in Europe (VE) Day, Newark Mayor Cory Booker, French Consul-General Bertrand Lortholary, and The GI Go Fund return dog tags to Willie Wilkins, a Newark Resident and Army Veteran of WWII who lost them in 1944 while fighting Nazis in France; Wilkins was also presented with the NJ Meritorious Service Medal By James Fanous
Anne-Marie Crespo stands with the Dog tags of WWII Veteran Willie Wilkins next to the olive tree she found them under in her Garden in Istres, France.
Willie Wilkins was 21 years old when he was fighting Nazis as a member of the US Army Quartermaster Graves Registration unit in the invasion of Southern France in August of 1944 during World War II. While he was there, he had lost his dog tags, the only form of identification a soldier has while on the battlefield and one of the most important things to any member of the military.
Lortholary, and the GI Go Fund at Newark City Hall on Wednesday, May 8th, 2013—the Anniversary of Victory in Europe (VE) Day. “This is a wonderful story that completes a circle that began with a Newark native’s service to our country in history’s greatest war. We are honored by Willie Wilkins, and it is truly appropriate to help return these artifacts to him and to recognize him today, on the anniversary of the final defeat of Adolf Hitler,” Mayor Booker said.“The struggles of the ‘Greatest Generation’ to defeat the forces of Nazism abroad and racism at home dug the wells of liberty from which our generation drinks.”
Now, at the age of 90, Mr. Wilkins was reunited with the dog tags he once thought were lost forever during a special ceremony in Newark, NJ by Mayor Cory Booker, French Consul-General Bertrand Army Corporal Willie Wilkins of Newark and his daughter, Carol, hold up the dog tags that Mr. Wilkins lost in 1944 serving in WWII. (Photo by Amanda Murphy-The GI Go Fund)
Reunited with lost dog tags
“This is truly a great day,” said GI Go Fund Executive Director Jack Fanous. “We have the unique privilege of reuniting an American hero with the dog tags he lost while serving in France during WWII; dog tags that were found by French citizens whose gratitude toward the American military and her soldiers led them on a 12 year search for Mr. Wilkins. It is a testament to the Human Spirit, the American Legacy, and a truly fitting tribute to a member of the ‘Greatest Generation’.”
digging it out of the ground, she realized that it was a dog tag that belonged to a WWII veteran named Willie Wilkins. She cleaned it and proudly displayed it on her mantle for guests to see. She even hosted a small ceremony with friends to commemorate the soldier, whom she presumed had died during the war, and the American military for liberating France from the Nazis. Among the friends was Philippe Clerbout, a French man who greatly admired the US military for bringing his own father back home to France after he spent five years in a Nazi POW camp on VE Day, May 8, 1945. Wanting to learn more about the veteran, Mr. Clerbout wrote down the name and service number inscribed on the dog tag and reached out to any American or French agency he could.After a long search, he came across the Veterans Affairs office in Indianapolis, IN, where he learned that Mr. Wilkins was in fact alive and living in Newark, NJ with his daughter, Carol.
“This is a unique ceremony, and it is a great privilege to be here. On behalf of France, I thank Mr.Wilkins and all the American soldiers who fought to get France back its freedom 70 years ago. We will never forget
Eager to have the dog tags returned, a VA rep named Heather Logan in Indianapolis then made contact with The GI Go Fund, the organization that formed a partnership with Mayor Booker to run the city’s office of Veterans Affairs.The organization reached out to Carol, who confirmed that her father did lose his dog tags in France during the war and still holds out hope to this day that he would get them back. In addition, she said that her father was not receiving any benefits from the VA after all these years.
French Consul-General Bertrand Lortholary (left) reads a letter from Anne Marie Crespo addressed to Mr. Wilkins and his Daughter, Carol, in the GI Go Fund Veterans Office in Newark City Hall with Executive Director Jack Fanous (right).
what you did for us, and we look forward to continuing to build stronger ties between France and the City of Newark,” said Consul-General Lortholary.
The organization worked with both Carol and Ms. Crespo to give Mr. Wilkins everything that was rightfully his. They contacted Ms. Crespo in France with the help of a French translator provided by a member of the organization’s Veteran Leader Corps, who informed her that Mr. Wilkins was alive and that she should send the dog tags back to Newark, which she gladly did. In addition, GI Go had a representative from the VA go to Mr. Wilkins’ residence and file a claim for him to receive his benefits, which is currently being processed through the VA system.
The remarkable story of how Mr.Wilkins’ dog tags were discovered began 12 years ago in Istres, France.A woman named Anne-Marie Crespo was gardening under her olive tree, the international symbol for peace, when her shovel hit something made of metal. After
Now, with all of the pieces in place, the GI Go Fund and the City of Newark were able to present Mr. Wilkins with his dog tags, who was unaware that they had been discovered, during a ceremony at City Hall on May 8th, 68 years to the day after Mr. Wilkins and
(Photo by Amanda Murphy-The GI Go Fund)
Reunited with lost dog tags
the US Military liberated France and all of Europe from the Nazis. Mr. Wilkins will also be presented with the New Jersey Meritorious Service Medal during the ceremony to honor his time in the service and all he did for our country.
GI Go Fund Executive Director Jack Fanous (left) and Newark Mayor Cory Booker (center) present the Army Corporal Willie Wilkins (right) of Newark the dog tags he lost while serving in France in WWII, along with the New Jersey Meritorious Service Medal.
“Daddy was aware that he’d lost his dog tags,” Ms. Wilkins said,who spoke on behalf of her family. “But he wasn’t concerned about his own tags – he was too busy keeping track of the dog tags of the men he was burying. They were more important to him.” The horrific experiences he suffered performing his duties left Mr. Wilkins with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
(Photo by Amanda Murphy-The GI Go Fund)
Mr. Wilkins was reunited with the dog tags that he lost in 1942 as a teenager fighting in France, an astonishing story that was made possible by the tremendous love and appreciation people from across the world have for America’s veterans and what they do. The reunion is also a testament to the great things that the city of Newark has achieved through their partnership with the GI Go Fund, whose smarter government approach to servicing veterans needs not only led to the return of Mr. Wilkins’ dog tags, but the processing of his benefits claim and his recognition by the state for his service during the war as well.
“I haven’t known such joy in my heart since my mother died in 2007,” she said. “When I got the call from the Veterans’ Administration that they had found Daddy’s dog tags, we were so happy. I want to thank the Mayor and everyone involved for returning these tags.” Ms.Wilkins intends to display the dog tags in their case on his father’s dresser, so that his great-grandchildren – two of them in college – can see them.
GI Go Fund teams up with Goldman Sachs and The Mission Continues to Assemble Hundreds of Care Packages for Homeless Veterans Over 30 members of Goldman Sachs took part in an effort to help veterans currently living on the streets by joining The GI Go Fund and The Mission Continues in Newark City Hall to assemble over 200 care packages for homeless veterans.
important partnership, and I urge Newark residents to support the GI Go Fund and all of our veterans.” “When you prepare these care packages, remember that these packages are intended for Americans who at one point fought for you and I,” said GI Go Fund Executive Director Jack Fanous to the volunteers. “Do not think about the tattered clothes they wear today, but the uniform they once wore for you. Do not think of the bridge they sleep under but the bunker they once slept in to protect us. Always remember that these packages are meant for a hero; a man or woman who loved you and this country more than themselves, and with this package we can begin to say we love you too.”
The care packages were developed by the volunteers on July 1st so that they may be distributed during homeless veteran outreach events in the area. They include clothes donated by Harley-Davidson and Bravado, as well as non-perishable food supplies donated by Operation Gratitude. The effort was part of the company’s Community TeamWorks program, which is a global volunteer initiative that has linked over 25,000 of its members to assist local nonprofits in their area.This event was coordinated in conjunction with the Mission Continues, an organization that grants community service fellowships to Post9/11 Veterans to offer assistance to other veterans in need.
The packages will be used as part of the organization’s Midnight Mission for Homeless Veterans, an innovative outreach service that has scores of volunteers going out before dawn to help homeless vets with food and medical aid. Some packages were immediately delivered to the St. Bridget Support Center, a local food pantry that provides services to the city’s homeless population.
They worked to assemble the care packages for GI Go Fund’s efforts in Newark to help homeless veterans, aiding them in their groundbreaking work with Mayor Cory Booker and the city of Newark to utilize a smarter government approach to find real solutions to the city’s veteran population.
In addition, the care packages will be used during the organization’s Stand Down for Homeless Veterans later this fall, which is a one day event that links homeless veterans to food, clothes, legal aid, haircuts, and emergency medical aid.
“It is appalling that men and women who served our country in uniform with honor, courage, and commitment, must return from duty and distant battlefields to homelessness and apathy,” said Mayor Booker. “These are men and women who made enormous sacrifices and fought in battle to protect our liberties, our homes, and our streets. Too many of them return to enjoy precious few liberties, lack homes, and are forced to sleep in our streets. My administration is committed to giving our returning warriors the love and respect that they have earned.
Members of the Goldman Sachs Community TeamWorks program, along with fellows from The Mission Continues, worked to create over 200 care packages for the GI Go Fund to give out to homeless veterans
“We are proud of how Goldman Sachs and its Community TeamWorks program has partnered with our GI Go Fund to provide care packages for homeless veterans in the City of Newark. I value the work done by GI Go Fund Executive Director Jack Fanous to develop this