Burlington County recently became home to the nation’s only tri-service joint base, or “megabase.” Together, McGuire Air Force Base, Fort Dix and Naval Engineering Station Lakehurst occupy 42,000 acres, a portion of which is located in neighboring Ocean County. More than 40,000 military and civilian personnel and their families live and work on or near the base.
The County has long enjoyed a working relationship with the military bases, and, over the years, has initiated programs and services to support both active and retired military.
In return, the County has enjoyed the favorable economic impact (estimated at $1 billion in 2007). Most recently, it was reported that some $325 million in construction was underway at the new Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, with much more to come. This, too, will bring hundreds of new job opportunities.
The Burlington County Department of Military and Veterans Services provides a wealth of assistance for both service- connected and non-service connected veterans and their dependents, ranging from disability compensation and educational benefits to health benefits and transportation services. The Department interacts with other military service organizations. The offices are located in the County’s Human Services Facility at 795 Woodlane Road in Westampton. Telephone: (609) 265-5008. Web: www.co.burlington.nj.us/veteran.
The County’s Active Duty Assistance Program (ADAP) was initiated by the freeholders following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, to supplement programs and services already provided by the branches of the military to ensure that the needs (child care, transportation, rent/mortgage/utility assistance, etc.) of the families of our fighting men and women are met while they are away from home. The Department of Military and Veterans Services administers the ADAP. Telephone: (609) 265-5222.
For decades, the Burlington County Military Affairs Committee (BCMAC), with the support of the freeholders, has been at the forefront in its support of troops stationed at the military bases. Its activities range from the practical (such as Airman’s Attic, which collects and distributes household goods) to recreational (sporting events and tours of the county) to ceremonial (providing phone cards for deployed troops and then welcoming them home). BCMAC is a relentless fundraising organization (its recent 32-mile motorcycle events raised upwards of $32,000) and makes annual contributions to family support units on each of the installations as well as a scholarship for a solider or airman stationed on base. BCMAC is always looking to build its volunteer base. For more information, access www.bcmilitaryaffairs.com/trustees, or contact them through the military and veterans services offices at (609) 265-5008.