TOWNSHIP OF WASHINGTON, N.J. -- For active duty soldiers and veterans, having hometown support can be a major boost when fighting overseas and acclimating to civilian life. That's why the Oritani Bank Charitable Foundation has joined forces with Fair Lawn-based charity, Adopt-a-Soldier Platoon, to help recognize those who serve.
The Township of Washington-based Oritani Bank Charitable Foundation supports a variety of charities and causes across Bergen, Passaic and Hudson Counties. When the volunteers from Adopt-a-Soldier Platoon initially approached Oritani Bank about applying for a grant, the foundation immediately took interest in the organization's mission.
"There are approximately 20 suicides a day from returning soldiers," said Kevin Lynch, president and CEO of Oritani Bank and board member at Adopt-a-Soldier Platoon. "It’s a horrible thing, and we thought, ‘What can we do to help stop this?'" The result has been a partnership that’s garnered over $300,000 in contributions from the Oritani Bank Charitable Foundation, and helped countless active and retired military personnel.
"Adopt-a-Soldier Platoon does great things to comfort our soldiers that are in harm’s way, and help those who have been wounded and need physical or mental support," said Lynch. The charity, which was founded in 2003 by veterans and is comprised entirely of volunteers, organizes care packages to send overseas to active duty soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen. Adopt-a-Soldier Platoon also organizes morale and welfare programs for veterans seeking support at home. "Their mission is to take care of these warriors and help them get back on their feet," said Lynch.
While the personal items sent overseas are a welcome treat to soldiers, the support they bring mentally is even more important. “We show our appreciation for what they’ve done and letting them know we say 'thank you’ for your service," said Lynch.
In the bank's three years of partnership with Adopt-a-Soldier Platoon, Lynch has heard and received countless accolades, mementos and thanks from soldiers and their families for the work the charity does. "I’ve met a number of soldiers and heard them talk about what’s on their mind," said Lynch. "We’ve received tons of thank you emails and been given flags flown in planes and on bases, but the best thanks is to know soldiers are returned, happy and know they're remembered."
For more information on Adopt-a-Soldier Platoon, click here.