rap # 194 10/4/11
VETERANS SERVICES EXPANDING AT SOUTHERN CENTER IN MANAHAWKIN
VETERANS LIVING in Southern Ocean County now have easier access to claims assistance and counseling services via county
offices in Stafford Township.
The Ocean County Veterans Service Bureau has opened a satellite office at the Southern Ocean County Services Center in
downtown Manahawkin. The office is staffed every Monday.
The state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs has also reached an agreement with The Ocean County Board of Chosen
Freeholders to utilize office space in the complex, located at 179 East Main Street.
Two accredited Veterans’ Services Officers from the state will be assigned to the Manahawkin building each Tuesday
Additionally, the county is working with the federal Department of Veterans Affairs to bring VA educational and
vocational services, as well as a job bank to the Stafford Township facility.
"This is an opportunity to improve accessibility to these important services for our veterans in the southern end of
the county," said Freeholder Deputy Director Gerry P. Little.
The county already operates its Veterans Service Bureau in Toms River, but Little said the long travel distances
from southern communities could be a deterrent to residents who would otherwise utilize the bureau.
"Our older and disabled veterans often have problems making the trip to Toms River," he said.
Under this pilot program, both the state and county offices now provide Veterans Affairs claims assistance and
counseling services to veterans and their dependents and survivors.
The federal initiative would add training initiatives to disabled veterans similar to the program already available
at the Toms River office.
"We hope to offer maximum services to our veterans and their families both in Toms River and Manahawkin," Little
Federal staff could be assigned to the southern center before the end of the year at no cost to the county, he said.
Little, who is also liaison to the Veterans Service Bureau, thanked Bureau Director John P. Dorrity for his efforts
in working with both Trenton and Washington D.C. to bring the services to the Manahawkin offices.
"We proudly serve more than 68,000 veterans that call Ocean County home," Little said. "This partnership between the
federal government, the state and the county is another way to assist those men and women who have sacrificed so much to
defend our freedom."
The Southern Ocean County Services Center already houses a variety of county satellite offices, ranging from the
Ocean County Clerk, Surrogate and Senior Services, said Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari.
"The Southern Center, along with the County Connection in the Ocean County Mall, provide our residents with easy
access to all of our county services," Vicari said.
For more information on veterans' services available both in Toms River and Manahawkin, contact the Veterans Service
Bureau at 732- 929-2096.