November 11, 2014

GI Go Fund and PSEG Honor Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop and Other dedicated Veteran Supporters During 6th Annual Veterans Day Gala

Mayor Steven Fulop and NJ Assemblyman Troy Singleton among honorees; Congressman Donald Payne Jr. Gives Opening Remarks

Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop (left) receives the 2014 Veteran Leadership Award from GI Go Executive Director Jack Fanous during Veterans Day Gala

NEWARK, NJ - The GI Go Fund hosted its 6th Annual Veterans Day Gala, where PSEG, Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, Congressman Donald Payne Jr. and over 250 military personnel, veterans, and their loved ones joined at the Newark Club for the premiere Veterans event in New Jersey to honor our veterans and the people who have made a significant difference in the lives of veterans and their loved ones.

This year’s gala recognized the individuals and organizations that have made it a priority to ensure that our veterans not only return home with honor and pride, but are regarded as some of the most important and valuable members of our society. Throughout the private and public sectors, there are individuals who have displayed an unparalleled commitment to ensuring that our veterans our transitioning successfully.

“We’ve worked every day this past decade helping veterans find jobs, train for jobs, and go to college,” said GI Go Fund Executive Director Jack Fanous, “But our work is never done. There are still many veterans who need assistance, and countless veterans coming home from combat facing difficulty. We must never give up in our fight for veterans, and every person here tonight is committed to helping our veterans. We do not only honor our mothers on Mother’s Day, and we will cannot and will not choose to only honor our veterans on Veterans Day.”

Among the honorees was Jersey City Mayor and Marine Corps Veteran Steven Fulop, who was given the Veteran Leadership Award for the great example he has set for fellow veterans as to what can be achieved by former military members when they return home.

Mayor Fulop was working for Goldman Sachs when he witnessed the devastating attacks of September 11, 2001, Fulop made the life-altering decision to leave his job and enlist in the United States Marine Corps. He served in Iraq as a member of the 6th Engineer Support Battalion, where he was awarded the Overseas Service Ribbon, Meritorious Masts, and the Presidential Unit Citation. He returned home and became successful in the public sector, being elected to the Jersey City Council as the youngest member in history in 2005. In addition, he has raised tens of thousands of dollars for children and veterans.

Also honored was NJ State Assemblyman Troy Singleton, who was named Legislator of the Year by the GI Go Fund for his leadership in creating a veterans court program within the state, which helps veterans arrested on the county level end their criminal dependency. In addition, Singleton developed a “Helmets to Hardhats” program to help out-of-work former military personnel find jobs in the construction industry.

Wendell Steinhauer, President of the New Jersey Education Association, was named Man of the Year for

the tremendous support that he and the hundreds of thousands of teachers in his organization have shown over the years. Since 2012, the NJEA has sponsored the GI Go Fund’s Jeans for Troops drive, encouraging their teachers to wear jeans to work after making a $5 donation to our organization. Thanks to the support of the NJEA, the fundraising drive has grown exponentially, with hundreds of thousands of participants from coast to coast raising money for our organization to help returning military personnel.

In addition, attorney Mark Salah Morgan of Day Pitney was awarded the Veterans Justice Award for developing a pro bono legal aid program for veterans in his firm. His program has helped dozens of veterans in just a few short months with landlord-tenant issues, VA claims, and will drafting, and is all because of the commitment that Mark and his firm have towards helping our military men and women.

Lastly, author John Shiffman was given the Excellence in Veteran Journalism award for his book Operation Shakespeare, which discussed the circumstances surrounding the death of Lt. Seth Dvorin. His book has made headways in the veteran community, highlighting how some American weapons have been used by enemy forces against our troops.

Among those who gave opening remarks at the event were Congressman Donald Payne Jr. and new mayor of Newark, NJ Ras Baraka.

Sponsors for the event included PSEG, Verizon NJ, NJEA, and Stop & Shop.