Bill Sponsored by Greenwald, Land, Johnson, Mazzeo, Andrzejczak, Houghtaling and Benson
Legislation sponsored by Assembly Majority Leader Louis Greenwald and Assembly Democrats Bruce Land, Gordon Johnson, Vince Mazzeo, Bob Andrzejczak, Eric Houghtaling and Daniel Benson to provide an array of online assistance for Gold Star families was signed into law on Monday.
The term “Gold Star” describes a family member who has lost a loved one in military service. A Gold Star Family member is defined to mean a spouse, domestic partner, partner in a civil union, parent, brother, sister, child, legal guardian, or other legal custodian.
“Gold Star families have given the greatest sacrifice they can for our freedoms, and we need to do our part to support them,” said Greenwald (D-Camden/Burlington). “This bill will provide needed support to navigate the challenges and difficulties they face in the wake of losing a loved one.”
The new law (S-2857/A-4403), which is part of a larger four-bill package, would require the Adjutant General to create a public webpage with information for Gold Star families. The webpage must include information about state benefits, state and county liaisons, a list of service members killed in action from New Jersey, links to other Gold Star family organizations, and any other information deemed beneficial to Gold Star families.
“We are indebted to these brave soldiers and their families. Anything we can do to make life a little easier for them is the honorable thing to do,” said Land (D-Cape May/Atlantic/Cumberland).
“Family members dealing with the untimely death of a loved one are often left with deep emotional wounds that can take a long time to heal,” said Johnson (D-Bergen). “These services will help give these families the support they need to get through the grieving process.”
“Gold Star families deserve our support,” said Mazzeo (D-Atlantic). “While none of this will bring their loved one back, we should make every effort to let them know they are not alone.”
“The untimely death of a loved is devastating,” said Andrzejczak (D-Cape May/Atlantic/Cumberland) “Behind every soldier is a military family that contributed to the safety of our country. We have a responsibility to ensure their stability and well-being when they suffer a loss.”
“A webpage for Gold Star families would be a comprehensive source of information so that a Gold Star family member may be informed of the available benefits and resources without having to gather such information in a piecemeal fashion,” said Houghtaling (D-Monmouth).
“Grieving Gold Star families should not have to deal with bureaucratic hurdles,” said Benson (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “We should facilitate access to valuable resources and services so that these families are able to get the help they need as quickly and efficiently as possible.”