Operation: Give Back
This month, in honor of Veteran's Day, NJ101.5 and First Choice Loan Services have teamed up for a new project entitled Operation: Give Back. Operation: Give Back will honor a veteran or someone who is active duty military in need of help with a home makeover! Operation Jersey Cares, an organization that works with active military, and injured and retired vets, has assisted us in picking the entries. The finalists will be announced shortly and then you will be able to cast your vote for the winner. The winner will be announced on Monday, November 25th!
We have chosen the 10 finalists, you can read a little bit about each entrant below from the person who nominated them below:
1. Gary from Jackson
Gary comes from a dedicated military family. Starting with his Grand Father a WWII veteran who served in the military for over 43 years, his father Gary Sr. has also served for over 43 years, serving two tours in Iraq. Gary's three uncles have accumulated 35 years of service. Gary has been a member of the US Army Reserve for six years and has been to Iraq and Afghanistan, and his brother Joe is a member of the New Jersey Army National Guard and is scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan in early 2014. When Gary Jr returned home on two weeks of leave from Iraq my wife Louise and I picked up Gary at the airport and while he was home on his mid-tour leave, he drove me to the airport for my second deployment to Iraq. One of Gary's (and mine) finest moments was marching in the Memorial Day Parade with his 87 year old Grandfather, his father and his brother Joe. (the four of us have a total of 96 years of military service). I would like to see Gary get a make-over on his home. Gary recently got engaged and he and his fiancee are saving so they can pay for their wedding. Since he is saving his money for his wedding, the makeover/updating his home needs has been put on hold. Gary takes my home leftovers because his dog Roscoe (rescue dog) has an appetite for home furnishings. Roscoe has eaten his couch, remote control, table legs and has scratched through part of his wood floor. Gary and Gabby are in desperate need of a home make-over. I never realized the effect of telling my mother and father I was going to war until Gary Jr came to my wife and me and told me he was deploying to Iraq.
2. CJ from Howell
I bought my house 3 years ago right after I married my wife. I used the money I saved from my second tour in Iraq to give my wife the wedding she properly deserved for being the kind caring, loving, caring person she is. Our house is small but it's our home. It has it's imperfections but I wouldn't trade it for anything because of the memories. We added another member of our family recently and with the economy we hit a few speed bumps. Nothing I couldn't handle but a lot of things I wanted to do had to be put on hold. The big project I always wanted to do was our kitchen. It's a small kitchen with aging appliances and older counter tops. One thing the Marine Corps teaches is 'adapt and overcome' we've adapted and are trying to overcome all the curveballs that life throws at us. The most important thing in the world is family. Being able to provide for your family is a heart warming feeling. I know my wife and I would be so grateful for a home makeover. I joined the Marine Corps January 13th 2003 I served 8 years and 2 tours in Iraq as a 3531 Motor Transport Operator.
3. Bob from Toms River
Staff Sergeant Kencis is one of the most giving, selfless people I have ever met. In 2009 she resigned from her job as an elementary school teacher in Wyoming and moved to NJ to be closer to her mom, who was diagnosed with brain cancer. Eventually Mom needed full-time care and Kencis moved in with her mother who did not want to go to a hospice facility. After Mom passed, Kencis applied for and received her NJ state teaching certificate, but was unable to find full time employment. She decided to join a national guard unit who was deploying to Afghanistan and in need of soldiers for a Female Engagement Team. This unit's mission was to use female soldiers to approach Afghani women in a culturally appropriate way and find how to better help them and their community. Although this unit's mission changed after she had trained for several months, she deployed with them because she still wanted to serve her state and country. After this deployment, she was still unable to find full time work and has just recently been placed on active orders working in Toms River. Over the past four years she has given selflessly to her family, her community, and country and has asked for nothing in return even though it meant abandoning her career. I feel that she is deserving of a home makeover for herself as a tribute to the numerous sacrifices she has made.
4. Dennis from Brick
My husband served in the US Army in VietNam. He has raised 5 children here in Brick and has always been able to do everything at home himself. However, the affects of Agent Orange have taken all he was able to do away from him. He can no longer work, do any repairs around the house or even walk 2 miles a day as he was able to. He has had to have double bypass surgery due to his kidneys shutting down from diabetes - a direct result of exposure to Agent Orange while in Vietnam. Our home needs some things done and he is angry that he is not able to do them. Our youngest son who was always there to help him is now in the US Marines serving on the USS New Orleans at this time. I think my husband has served his country and given his all. He deserves this makeover to make his life a little easier and his mind a little less worried. Thank you.
5. Maryellen from Bayville
My sister lives in a two bedroom ranch in Bayville. She opened her home to a friend with 4 cats who was a victim of hurricane Sandy. When Maryellen is not Serving her country she is a pediatric nurse, also an endoscopy nurse part time. Maryellen was deployed to Afghanistan last Jan and served as a flight nurse helping the wounded solders till June and is home now and safe and this is all that really matters. Maryellen is the most giving and selfless person I ever met. The house needs some attention. She had a negative experience with a contractor just before her deployment who took some money and did not complete all the work promised. So I think it might be difficult for her to trust moving forward.
6. David from Leonardo
I joined the Navy in 1985 and was stationed on the USS Detroit in 1986 they re-home ported to NWS Earle NJ in 1989. I have spent most of my 22 years in the Navy here in NJ either on a ship or on shore duty. I married a NJ Girl back in 1995 and we have endured all the Middle East events since, finally retiring here at NWS Earle in August of 2007. Now 70 Percent Disabled I work full time for the Public Works Department at NWS Earle. During the Sandy Super storm working 60 to 70 hours a week on the base restorations then helped out other veterans and civilian’s with their homes during my off time. A Makeover would defer the cost of current projects to our home. My wife and I normally do all our own work to our home but on a budget things get delayed until we can afford it.
7. James from Browns Mills
My dad James Moore deserve this make over, he fought for our country, he was wounded in the line of duty, he had contracted agent orange while fighting for this country. He then work for a machine shop for 40 plus years, he is 64 he had to retire 2 years early because of agent orange and diabetes. My dad has a three bedroom ranch style house, the money he gets from social security , isn't enough to remodel it. I will pray and keep my fingers cross, this make over would make my dads day.
8. Paul from Mercerville
Paul is a 22 year active duty veteran who served in Iraq. He has dedicated his life to the Army and has served it well. His wife is still serving 23 years as a reservist while his two older chilren have also joined the reserves. His youngest daughter is currently in 10th grade. Paul has had many medical issues stemming from his tour in Iraq and is being treated by the VA. The sacrifices he and his family have made should be honored with this home make over. They are in need of some work done on their home that they simply cannot afford, a second bathroom and a few other modifications are definately in need. This man and his family have been through so many obsticles over te last several years an could sure use a pick me up.I'm not sure how much I am able to write but would love if this family could be considered for this Give Back, as they have all given so much.
9. Peter from Toms River
My Grandfather is a WWII veteran. After serving in the Navy he returned home to marry his next store neighbor (my Grandmother) who passed away several years ago. He had run his own General Contracting business all his life building and fixing homes for others. Now he is 90 years old and his body can't do what his mind tells him anymore. I moved back from CA 3+ years ago to take care of him. He bought a house in Toms River and gave up his waterfront house in Little Egg Harbor to his Son and their family which was damaged during Sandy. I try to help him with renovations on both houses but I'm limited in what I can accomplish. His son is a Contractor as well but recently lost a 26 year old son and has been struggling to recover from Sandy and the loss of his son this summer. My Grandfather has always supported his family and tried to provide. Now I would love to help him.
10. Michael from Howell
Michael is the kind of person that will drop what he is doing to help others. He is a great friend. Michael and his wife maria have 6 daughters ranging from 11 years to 8 months and they live in a town house. They could definitely use the help. Michael recently went through a tough bout with PTSD and had to go to a rehab center for it in north nj. He has been out of work the last 2 months and his wife has been home with all 6 kids by her self. No one other then other veterans can understand what he's going through but his wife has been very supportive. Luckily she has great family and friends who have been helping her out the last couple months. If there is anything you can do to help them that would be great.
Now it's time to cast your vote! Vote below for who you think should be the winner of Operation: Give Back