Burlington County veterans and their families will have the opportunity to learn about the many available programs, support services and benefits that are available to them during the upcoming Burlington County Veterans Expo.
The free event is organized by the Burlington County Sheriff’s Department in partnership with the Burlington County Commissioners, and the Burlington County Department of Human Services that houses the Division of Military and Veterans Affairs. This year’s event will be held Oct. 11 from 5 PM to 8 PM in the Student Success Center at Rowan College at Burlington County, 1500 College Circle, Mount Laurel.
Nearly 40 agencies, nonprofits and vendors are expected to participate in this year’s expo, making it one of the largest events of its kind in South Jersey.
Among the agencies and groups that will be present at the event include: The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs-Pension Management Center, the Crescenz VA Medical Center, the Burlington County Department of Human Services and Division of Military and Veterans Services, the Burlington County Health Department, Military OneSource, the New Jersey National Guard Soldier & Family Assistance Center, Solider On, Deborah Heart & Lung Center HeroCare Connect, Helmets to Hardhats, Hampton Behavioral Health and many more.
“Burlington County is home to more than 30,000 veterans and we want all of them to know about the resources and services that exist to assist them and their families,” said Burlington County Commissioner Allison Eckel, the liaison for Military and Veterans Affairs. “The Veterans Expo brings together numerous government agencies, nonprofits and businesses to a single location so veterans can get information and answers without a long search or wait.”
Free medical screenings will also be offered at the Expo, and the Burlington County Sheriff’s Department Community Services Unit will also be on location to make veterans photo identification cards.
The IDs are available to any veteran who was honorably discharged from service and are often used by veterans to receive certain discounts or courtesies offered by some businesses and governments for veterans.
“Since January 2021, our department has issued more than 100 of these identification cards to local veterans,” said Burlington County Undersheriff Jim Kostoplis. “It’s a great service that can assist those who stepped forward and served in our armed forces to defend our nation and the rights and freedoms we all hold dear.”
Veterans interested in obtaining a veterans ID card at the Expo are advised to bring their DD214 discharge document and another form of photo identification, such as a New Jersey driver’s license.
Light refreshments will be served at the event and the first 300 veterans will also receive free tote bags.
“These men and women gave much to us, so this Expo is a way for us to give back to them and let them know about the many services available in Burlington County,” Kostoplis said.
Burlington County’s population of veterans is the second largest of any county in New Jersey behind only Ocean County and it has won recognition as one of the most veteran-friendly locations in New Jersey because of its programs, services and honors for local veterans and military families.
The County Division of Military and Veterans Affairs also has a standout record of advocating for local veterans and assisting them with casework related to their benefits. So far this year, the division has assisted more than 3,000 veterans obtain over $10.5 million in compensation and benefits.
The Commissioners and Division of Military and Veterans Affairs also hold a medal ceremony each year to honor veterans who were honorably discharged and now reside in the community.
In addition, the Division has a cemetery care program, which helps maintain veterans’ grave sites in over 96 cemeteries throughout Burlington County. Throughout the year, the County dispatches a part-time employee to clean up and cut the grass at any graves not maintained by cemetery staff. Staff also ensure that new flags are placed on each veteran’s grave before Memorial Day.
“Our Board is incredibly proud that Burlington County is home to so many outstanding men and women from our military and we are committed to doing everything possible to honor and support them and their families,” Eckel added.