Homeless veterans benefit from a unique partnership; Roselle Park donates refurbished ambulance
On July 25, Ray Chimileski, executive director and Maj. Anthony DeStefanno, USAR Retired and Homeless Veterans’ Outreach Coordinator, for Operation Chillout Inc., received the keys of a refurbished decommissioned rehab ambulance from Borough of Roselle Park and its Volunteer First Aid Squad.
Operation Chillout began almost 15 years ago by veterans to help homeless veterans in New Jersey. They are all volunteers and serve the needs of these men and women from giving them the basic necessities for their survival to getting them Medical attention when it is needed.
The donation was made possible by the efforts of Kevin Murphy, chief operations officer of the Veterans Chamber of Commerce-NJ and president of the Rotary Club of Roselle-Roselle Park. Murphy learned of Operation Chillout from Tulsi Mahajan, and district governor of Rotary District 7510. Murphy also being a volunteer member of the Roselle Park First Aid Squad, discussed the possibility of donating a used rehab ambulance with Lisa Malave, president and Glen Costello, captain, both with the First Aid Squad and First Ward Councilman/Liaison to the squad Andrew Casais. Casais in return, brought the idea up with Mayor Joseph Accardi and asked members of the governing body to approve a vote for the donation at their regularly scheduled meeting.
Upon hearing of the approval, Murphy’s company KMSigns & Graphics with the help of Paul Oehler who is also a member of the squad, refurbished the ambulance to meet the needs of the homeless veterans. Members of the Roselle Park Board of Education, students, and residents began collecting cases of water which were loaded onto the ambulance for distribution.
The Rotary Club of Roselle-Roselle Park and the Veterans Chamber of Commerce-NJ held a dinner honoring Operation Chillout and its volunteers at Galloping Hill Caterers – Union sponsored by George Thomas. Present were Rotary members from various clubs throughout District 7510, business leaders from all professions, and elected officials. Additional donations were received from attendees.
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