october 9, 2012

New Class of Newark Firefighters Feature Nearly All Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan

Historic Partnership between Mayor Cory A. Booker and GI Go Fund leads to nearly 30 veterans being sworn in to the Newark Fire Department

NEWARK - Mayor Cory Booker and the City of Newark swore in the newest group of recruits into the line of Newark’s Bravest as city Firefighters. However, this is no ordinary batch of inductees, as nearly all of the members of this class are veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan.

The city swore in 31 members of the latest class of recruits at the New Hope Baptist Church on Tuesday, October 9. Of these new recruits, 29 are OEF/OIF veterans who were connected to their new jobs thanks to the commitment by the GI Go Fund and Mayor Cory Booker to find veterans the best employment opportunities

The group of recruits was missing one of its inductees, however. Joseph Carpio, a current member of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, deployed on active duty to Afghanistan on September 12. He was sworn in at the Clinton Avenue Firehouse the day before his deployment during a ceremony commemorating the anniversary of 9/11.

The members of the 41st Recruit Class were brought to the Fire Department thanks in large part to the tireless work of the GI Go Fund to facilitate them into the department. The organization, who partnered with the City of Newark and Mayor Cory Booker to operate the city’s Office of Veterans Affairs, recruited the veterans they worked with directly with phone calls, via email, as well as connect them to representatives from the Newark Fire Department at numerous GI Go Fund Veterans Job Fairs. In addition, veterans who received assistance in the organization’s Veterans Office in Newark City Hall received help obtaining New Jersey State veterans’ preference for hiring and connected them to assistance in Newark with the New Jersey Civil Service Commission Firefighters Exam.

Marland Lawrence (c), a Navy Vet connected by the GI Go Fund to his job as a Newark Firefighter and to his college education, takes his oath into the dept

Marland Lawrence, a Navy veteran who deployed to the Iraqi theater in 2005, had been unemployed for several years after his time in service. Then he went to the GI Go Fund office in Newark City Hall, where Deputy Director Alex Manis and fellow GI Go representatives worked closely with Marland to help him find the best job opportunity possible.

“They worked with me on everything,” said Lawrence. “They helped me get all of my information and resume together, they sent me weekly updates for job openings, they set me up for interviews, and they connected me to fire department, which they said was interested in hiring vets. And even during the process of taking the state fire exam and getting approved for the position, they linked me up to a part-time job at Newark Airport to help me financially. I wouldn’t be here without the GI Go Fund’s help, and they made this process as easy as possible for me.”

Lawrence was also linked by the organization to colleges that would help him improve his resume and skill set. He is now set to graduate from Devry University this month with a degree in electronics and computer technology.

“If a vet needs help, if they’re having a hard time getting a job, you should go to the GI Go Fund. I had nowhere else to turn, I couldn’t find a job on my own, but when I linked up with them, they helped me step by step to get to the place I am today,” he added.

“This moment is what it looks like when a city welcomes its veterans home,” said GI Go Fund Executive Director Jack Fanous. “The men and women of our military are capable of achieving great things in any area they wish to apply themselves, often times outperforming the rest of the field. This level of commitment by the Newark Fire Department here shows that we have a city and a Mayor who truly understand this principle, and who are committed to supporting our veterans when they come home. This is the welcome home that should exist in every city and every state across the country for our veterans returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan."

“I want to give a deep recognition to those members of our administration who have worked to ensure that we in America serve our veterans, and ensure that this is the ‘home of the brave’. It goes to me the heart of what this city speaks to; being part of this nation, part of a great community of people. ” said Newark Mayor Cory A. Booker.