Wantage Community News

Wantage Man Leads State American Legion

roger gengaroTrenton, NJ, July 1, 2016 – Roger Gengaro, a Vietnam Era veteran from Wantage, has been elected state commander of The American Legion, Department of New Jersey, the largest veterans organization in the state with about 48,000 members.

Gengaro has been a member of the Legion for 29 years, serving as commander of Sussex Post 213, Sussex County commander, and state vice commander. As Sussex County commander he persuaded the Freeholders to establish a veteran ID card, which has been issued to almost 1,000 county veterans through the County Clerk’s office.

Each year the newly elected state commander of the American Legion, Dept. of New Jersey, selects a state-wide project to improve the lives of New Jersey’s veterans through programs and services that provide assistance, trainin,g and care. State Commander Gengaro’s project will focus on homeless veterans by supporting a program called “Hope for Veterans” at Community Hope, a 95-bed transitional housing program located on the campus of Lyons VA Medical Center. His project will also include improvements at Veterans Haven North in Glen Gardner and Veterans Haven South in Winslow Township.

The Veterans Haven facilities, operated by the NJ Dept. of Military and Veterans Affairs, offer a haven for homeless veterans. The goal is to ensure that homeless veterans are treated and cared for in a dignified, compassionate, and professional manner so as to reach an optimal level of independence, and aid them in re-acquiring the life skills and ability to live in the community while maintaining their self-sufficiency, dignity and honor. Veteran’s Haven North operates two distinct programs: one is a transitional housing program and the second is an emergency shelter and treatment program, known as SHIELD, a 90–180 day housing program designed to assist veterans in stabilizing healthcare and financial concerns that have contributed to homelessness, and in entering supportive or permanent housing. The transitional housing program at both locations lasts two years, offering the veterans support and training to help in securing permanent employment and housing. Donations are tax deductible and may be sent to The American Legion, Dept. of NJ, 135 West Hanover St., Trenton, NJ 08618.

The American Legion is the largest wartime veterans service organization with 2.4 million members in nearly 14,000 posts in nearly every community in America. The Legion, established by an act of Congress in 1919, was instrumental in getting the original GI Bill through Congress and the creation of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Story submitted by Gary Cooper, American Legion, Post 213