Montville Vets Offer Support to New Military Members
Local post sends soldiers off with breakfast, mails care packages overseas.
Montville's local veterans organization has been working for years to not only recognize the efforts of military service men and women of the past, but also to offer assistance and support to those of the future.
One of the ways they have done this is through a program where they treat graduating Montville Township High School students who have indicated their intentions to enter a military service to breakfast. Joe Quade, a member of the Montville VFW Post 5481, said each graduate is given a check for $100 paid for by the organization's funds.
In June, six graduates entering military service were honored: Justin Jaffe (Airforce), Conor O'Brien (Airforce), Joshua Ahn (Marine Corps.), Devaughan Walker (Marine Corps.), Thomas Steele (Navy) and Nolan Ehntholt (Army).
"It is important because we give recognition to the children," Frank Warholic, the VFW post commander said. "Afterall, they're still children who are entering the service of their country."
Quade said the local post has been taking the graduates out to breakfast for the past ten years, but has also stayed in touch with them and mailed care packages to them when they go overseas.
"We find the stuff that they normally can use over there and once they get over there, we send them a package," Quade said. "Most of them serve their term and get discharged. Several of them have stayed and have made more than one trip back to Iraq or Afghanistan."
But Warholic said despite the VFW post's best efforts to keep in touch with the local service men and women, it is sometimes difficult to know where to send the packages. Sometimes, even when they have the addresses, things change and the soldiers are sent elsewhere.
"Many people think that because we're a VFW organization, as soon as somebody goes into a service, we automatically know who it is," Warholic said. "Say Joe Smith gets deployed and we send him a package or two, you don't even know if he's there, if he's still in combat or if he's home."
For that reason, Warholic recommends anyone wishing to send packages to local soldiers to seek out their contact information aside from the VFW organization. The best way to find out where a person is stationed is to contact their parent or guardian, Warholic said.