VFW State Commander
Paramus NJ, The membership of the Veterans of Foreign Wars is closely monitoring the COVID 19 situation at the Paramus and Menlo Park Memorial Homes and its effects on the veterans, spouses and Gold Star families residing in the homes. We all mourn the deaths and promise to every family member that we will use every resource available to ensure adequate staffing, funding, and procedures to care for those ill and prevent future infections. The residents of these homes defended and fought for our Nation, and now it is our turn to defend and fight for them.
While we are thankful for the National Guard troops and additional nurses deployed to the homes, we are shocked to learn that it took over 2 weeks after the crisis was first reported for healthy residents to be separated from ill or positive COVID 19 residents. The Governor did not announce additional testing for all residents in the homes until April 22, a full 15 days after he learned of the increased death and danger to our hospitalized veterans. The lack of swift action is very concerning.
The appointment of new leadership in the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs is a step forward, and so far, the acting Deputy Commissioner has been transparent. We are hopeful that deficiencies which endanger the health and wellbeing of the residents are quickly corrected and communications with the families improved.
We restate our call for an immediate investigation by the U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs and the VA Inspector General, and urge additional measures to protect residents. We ask that New Jersey’s entire Congressional delegation stand alongside us in protecting our most vulnerable veterans. Governor Murphy must restore the one million dollars to hospitalized veteran transportation program in his next budget and fill the vacancies on the New Jersey Veterans’ Memorial Home Advisory Councils.