Assembly Military and Veterans’ Affairs Chairwoman Cleopatra Tucker (D-Essex) thanked the Assembly members and staffers who helped make the “Jeans for Troops” Fundraising Drive, benefitting New Jersey veterans, during today’s voting session a success.
“I was proud to see so many of my colleagues showing their support for this important cause,” said Tucker (D-Essex). “Transitioning to civilian life can prove overwhelming for many of our veterans. Today, we hopefully helped make their transition a bit smoother.”
Tucker issued a proclamation declaring May 24 “G.I. Go Jeans for Troops Day” and worked with local officials to have Newark and Essex County issue similar proclamations.
Assembly Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver relaxed the decorum rules at Tucker’s request so that the Assembly could participate in the drive. Members and staffers were encouraged to ditch their formal wear in favor of jeans to show support for the 3rd Annual “Jeans for Troops” Fundraising Drive benefitting thousands of New Jersey veterans returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Employers that chose to participate in the fundraising drive allowed employees to wear jeans to work in exchange for a $5 donation to the G.I. Go Fund, which sponsored the fundraiser.
The G.I. Go Fund is a nonprofit charitable organization that provides transition assistance to all military veterans, with a focus on veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, by preparing veterans for the 21st century economy, securing educational and health benefits, and providing aid and assistance to low income and homeless veterans. It was founded in 2006, as a small community group dedicated to preserving the memory of Army Lt. Seth Dvorin, who was killed in Iraq.
“Adjusting to life back home can be difficult for veterans and often requires a support system that extends beyond family and friends. Many of them have a hard time finding employment since their expertise on the field often doesn’t translate to the job market,” said Tucker. “The unemployment rate for young veterans is dismal, and frankly, shameful considering the sacrifices they have made for our country. The funds collected today will help the G.I. Go Fund address this and other issues affecting our veterans. It’s the least we can do to repay their selfless service.”
The Assembly was among more than 300 companies, schools, and government agencies that participated. Assembly members and staff who participated were allowed to wear jeans as part of their professional attire. Jackets and ties were still required for male members and staffers.