By Jason Cohen
Succasunna resident Craig Heard knows veterans get forgotten too often. To show his appreciation for the sacrifice they make he recently donated money to the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 2833 in Kenvil.
On July 20, Heard presented the men with a check for $1,399.20 to assist it in purchasing new chairs and tables. Heard, 70, who recently ran for Congress against U.S. Rep. Leonard Lance (R-7th Dist.) in the June primary, first saw the post needed chairs and tables when he held a meet and greet there in February.
“My commitment to the veterans goes back to the 80s when I raised funds to begin the VFW in Holmdel,” Heard said.
He explained that throughout his life he has done his best to do as much as possible for veterans. He began going to events at the post in Kenvil two years ago and really got to know the guys. They bonded and when they gave him a list of things that needed to be fixed he immediately acquiesced.
“It’s up to us sometimes as individuals to step up and help,” he remarked.
According to Heard, the funds are typically there to help veterans, but the government does not allocate enough money for them. He believes veterans need better care and should receive medical vouchers from the government.
“The guys in Kenvil have really enlightened me about the sacrifices they made, what they saw in battle and how they are being treated and in some cases not being treated,” he said. “Our congressmen are part of the problem.”
Junior Vice Commander of the post Bob Mederos, 66, served as an Army Ranger in Vietnam and has been with the post for 29 years. Mederos said everyone appreciates everything Heard has done for them.
“As an Army Ranger I don’t trust anything,” Mederos said. “I’ve learned to have respect for him [Heard] and trust him. Craig really impressed me, not only because of the donation, but by going to our post and speaking to the veterans.”
Heard seems to truly care about the veterans, he stressed.
As the men at the post are getting older, he explained the goal is to entice younger veterans to join. They are trying to renovate the building and make it as modern as possible.
In addition to new chairs and tables, it received an $80,000 grant from the Morris County Freeholders last year, which helped upgrade the bathrooms and kitchen. The next step is redoing the floors.
“We want to make it so that it’s new and it’s your post,” he said.