Above: Private First Class Gary Guarino in uniform during the Vietnam War. The above scan of the original photo is courtesy of the Guarino family.
On Friday, May 25, one day before the start of Memorial Day Weekend, Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) helped Vietnam War Veteran and Hackensack resident Private First Class Gary Guarino get back his electricity after it was unfairly cut off.
After struggling with health issues, Private Guarino and his wife Sandra applied for assistance through the Payment Assistance for Gas & Electric (PAGE) program. The couple was accepted into the program, but the processing didn’t come through soon enough. On Friday, May 25, one day before Memorial Day Weekend, PSE&G showed up at the Guarinos’ home and shut off their electricity.
After losing his power, Private Guarino called Congressman Gottheimer’s office for assistance. Upon hearing the news, Congressman Gottheimer immediately called PSE&G directly to explain the situation. By 10 PM that night, a truck was sent to the Guarinos’ home and their power was restored.
“I saw a lot of bad things during the Vietnam War. I lost faith in my government. I thought it didn’t matter who you voted for, that politicians are all the same. I was wrong,” said Hackensack Vietnam War Veteran Private Gary Guarino. “When my power was shut off, I didn’t know where to turn. Thank you to Congressman Gottheimer for taking the time on a holiday weekend. I want other veterans to understand that you can turn to your Congressman. The Congressman’s office took full ownership of the process, from start to finish. I really appreciate that.”
“These things—helping a veteran, a cop, a firefighter—are not partisan issues. These are American issues. These are Jersey issues,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5). “I am proud of the work my office has done for veterans, active service members, first responders, and families of our fallen heroes. North Jersey veterans like Private Guarino deserve the best care and any assistance they need after valiantly serving their country.”
Any veteran in need of help is encouraged to contact Gottheimer’s office at 201-389-1100 or by visiting Gottheimer.House.Gov/Contact. Gottheimer’s office is eager to help veterans in the Fifth District with claims, backpay, medals, VA benefits, or any other matter.
Gottheimer has championed North Jersey veterans in Congress, consistently voting to increase funding for veterans programs. In August, the President signed Gottheimer’s amendment into law to boost hiring of young veterans and improve care at the VA. Gottheimer also passed an amendment to extend the authorization for the Suicide Prevention and Resilience Program for National Guard members, their families, and veterans for 2018.