may 26, 2012

NJ State Assembly Joins Over 300 Companies, Schools, and Government Agencies Participating in GI Go’s “Jeans for Troops” Drive

NJ State Assembly passes proclamation declaring May 24 as “GI Go Jeans for Troops Day” as members wore jeans on Assembly floor; NJEA sponsors drive with a generous contribution

From Left to Right: Assemblywoman Alison Littell McHose (R), Deputy Minority Whip, GI Go Fund Executive Director Jack Fanous, GI Go Fund  Director of Communications James Fanous, Assemblywoman Cleopatra Tucker (D), Vice President of NJEA Wendell Steinhauer, and GI Go Fund  Deputy Director Alex Manis

TRENTON, NJ - The state of New Jersey and parts of the country were involved in a movement to help their returning veterans in honor of Memorial Day as over 300 companies, schools, and government agencies took part in the GI Go Fund’s “Jeans for Troops” Drive on Thursday, May 24 to help raise funds for veterans and their families.

Employers, schools, and government agencies across the state and parts of the country allowed employees to wear jeans to work for a $5 donation to help the GI Go Fund further its mission of providing veterans with help finding employment and educational opportunities, homelessness assistance, and connections to critical health and financial benefits. The drive was heavily promoted by the NJ State Assembly, which passed a proclamation formally declared May 24, 2012 as “Jeans for Troops Day”. Members of the Assembly also wore jeans themselves as they voted that day, making a contribution of over $1,500 in support of veterans.

“I am thrilled to see members from both sides of the aisle come together to support our veterans,” said Assemblywoman Cleopatra Tucker, Chair of the Military and Veterans Affairs Committee. “Our veterans have given so much for us, and it is great to have the members of the Assembly show their support for our men and women in honor of Memorial Day.”

The drive was also sponsored by the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA), who encouraged all of its member schools and teachers to participate in the “Jeans for Troops” drive. Over 250 schools and school districts participated in this fundraising drive for our veterans. In addition, the NJEA will make a $5,000 contribution to the drive to help assist our veterans.

GI Go Executive Director Jack Fanous with Stephen Grossman, the NE Regional President and CEO of Marsh & McClennan wearing jeans to  support our military at a company event recognizing "Jeans for Troops" day

“NJEA is proud to sponsor the GI Go Fund’s Jeans for Troops program,” said NJEA President Barbara Keshishian. “Our members, many of whom are veterans themselves, are committed to supporting our troops as a way of thanking them for their service.”

Veterans are returning home in 2012 to a depleted economy, with former service members facing an unemployment rate consistently higher than their civilian counterparts. Veteran advocates and supporters are working to help unemployed veterans and their families find the support they need during these difficult times to prevent homelessness, but they are looking to the community to lend their support to the men and women who left to protect them.

“This is the critical moment for our veterans,” said GI Go Fund Executive Director Jack Fanous. “This is the year that our combat veterans will be returning home, and they are coming back to a very rough terrain for veterans looking to land on their feet. We need the community to come together and recognize the needs that veteran’s face, which is why I am so thrilled to see hundreds of participants from all across the state and region stepping up to help the neighbors who left to protect them. Veterans need a movement behind them in order to solve these issues, and with the help of the NJEA, the NJ Assembly, and the hundreds of employers who will participate, we have the chance to make a significant impact on the lives of our veterans.”

Among the over 300 employers, schools, and government agencies participating, including Johnson & Johnson, Marsh & McLennan, Community Education Centers, the Port Authority of NY/NJ, the NJ Motor Vehicle Commission, AXA Equitable, Cablevision, PSEG, Advance Realty Group, WithumSmith+ Brown, Community Solutions, Gibbons, and the Offices of U.S. Senator Robert Menendez.