November 17, 2017
GI Go Fund Honors Marine Veteran Justin Constantine and Community leaders during Veterans Networking Gala
Annual Gala sponsored by PSEG and others in Newark, NJ honored great leaders in the Veteran Community
NEWARK, NJ - The GI Go Fund hosted its Annual Veterans Networking Gala where PSEG, Panasonic, Kessler Foundation and over 200 military personnel, veterans, and their loved ones for the premiere Veterans event in New Jersey to honor 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.
Chief among these honorees was Marine Lt. Col. (Ret.) Justin Constantine, a veteran of the Iraq war who was wounded by a sniper in 2006. Constantine was awarded the Seth Dvorin Veteran of the Year Award for his tremendous public advocacy for the military community, serving as an inspirational speaker and proponent for veterans to become leaders in the business community.
Constantine has been an incredible figure within the military community since 2006. Constantine has served as counsel for the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee and general counsel for the national security law branch of the FBI. In 2012, he started The Constantine Group, originally focusing on inspirational and motivational speaking, but now also works to provide a variety of IT services. He has delivered a TEDtalk speech regarding his experiences, and has published a book entitled “My Battlefield, Your Office; Leadership Lessons from the Front Lines,” a leadership book focusing on mid-level managers in the private sector. He is also scheduled to publish a second book with the Society of Human Resource Managers (SHRM). Most recently, he was honored for his work with veteran employment by getting the chance to ring the closing bell at the Nasdaq exchange during Veterans Day 2017.
In addition to Constantine, the event honored several other members of the community who have made an impact for veterans. David Cathcart and Emerson Crooks were awarded the David Parano Lifetime Achievement awards for their incredible work over the past decades with helping homeless veterans. Most notable among their accomplishments has been the successful Newark Stand Down for homeless veterans, which assists hundreds of homeless veterans in the Newark area every October with food, clothing, medical checkups, haircuts, legal aid, and much more.
Howard Rosenblatt of Beasley Media was also recognized during the Gala. Rosenblatt was awarded the Jackson Drysdale Civilian of the Year Award for his fundraising efforts for the GI Go Fund over the years. He and his team at Beasley Media have hosted several golf outings and other fundraisers to benefit the GI Go Fund, as well as co-hosting the Big Backyard BBQ event in Mt. Olive, NJ. His efforts have raised tens of thousands of dollars for the organization and the veterans we serve, and plans on hosting several more in 2018.
GI Go Fund also honored Samuel Farran with the Jackson Drysdale Young Civilian of the Year Award for his great volunteer work for military veterans. Looking to do something meaningful for his Bar Mitzvah, Samuel decided to assemble care package backpacks for homeless veterans. He developed several dozen backpacks filled with food, clothes, and hygiene supplies and provided them to homeless veterans throughout the city of Newark, including during the GI Go Fund’s Stand Down for Homeless Veterans, which provides assistance to hundreds of homeless veterans throughout the area.
Both awards were named after Jackson Drysdale, the son of PSEG Senior Executive Diana Drysdale, who became a passionate supporter and volunteer of GI Go Fund and our efforts with homeless veterans at the age of 11. His love of our organization inspired his mother and countless others to get involved with our work and help military families in need.
The gala was sponsored by PSEG, Stop & Shop, AUSA, and JobPath. We thank all of our honorees for all that they do for veterans, and we hope others will follow in their footsteps in the coming year.