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TRACERS Event In Leonia Park Supports Homeless Veterans

Runners and Walkers line up at the start of the TRACERS event. Photo Credit: Melissa Heule
Runners set off at TRACERS 5K at Overpeck Park to support military veterans. Photo Credit: Melissa Heule
Carlo Oropresa chats with Davin Lehman at his Driven By Heroes table, a service that provides non-emergency transportation to veterans. Photo Credit: Melissa Heule
Bergen County Vice Commander American Legion Post 57 Commander John Vervoot assists at a table during the TRACERS event. Photo Credit: Melissa Heule
Team Red, White and Blue, comprised of voluteers and veterans, connect veterans throughout the county. Photo Credit: Melissa Heule
Director of Bergen County Veterans Services A.J. Luna addresses the crowd at the TRACERS event. Photo Credit: Melissa Heule
Bergen County Executive James Tedesco speaks to the crowd before the TRACERS race. Photo Credit: Melissa Heule

LEONIA, NJ — Like the glow-in-the-dark ammunition they take their program's name from, members of the all-volunteer veterans group TRACERS kept their focus on helping their fellow service members during a 5K run/walk Sunday in Overpeck Park in Leonia.

The Bergen County Division of Veteran Services and Team Red, White, and Blue hosted the event.

They were joined by Fairleigh Dickinson University students, ambulance corps members, various non-profit organizations and the Leonia American Legion.

“All of these organizations are helping veterans gain their souls back,” said Bob Salvini, commander of the Bergen County American Legion.

“We like to see the support of the community," said A.J. Luna, a military who helped organize the event.

Launched in 1993, TRACERS aims to connect homeless veterans to community-based and Veterans Affairs-sponsored programs and benefits in an effort to help them find jobs, homes and security.

“We help veterans keep camaraderie,” said Lucy DelGaudio, the Red, White and Blue Northern New Jersey chapter captain.

An estimated 37,000 veterans live in Bergen County. Another 100 are believed homeless.

Luna and others have helped 70 veterans find housing and 32 find employment. TRACERS also established a transitional home in Garfield a dozen years ago.


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