A Tour of the Veterans Memorial Home in Paramus, NJ

A Tour of the Veterans Memorial Home in Paramus, NJ

Courage is always in style. When Peter Salerno and his daughter Gabrielle had the opportunity to visit the Veterans Memorial Home in Paramus, New Jersey, it was an offer that they couldn’t pass up.

A veteran of the United States Navy, Peter Salerno (owner of Peter Salerno Inc., the most award-winning North American custom kitchen and bath design firm of the 21st century) was humbled and honored to spend time with the residents of the Veterans Memorial Home. Operated by the State of New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, the Paramus Veterans Memorial Home is a living love letter to those who have sacrificed bravely for the United States.

Peter Salerno visits the Paramus Veterans Memorial Home in NJ.
Peter Salerno visits the Paramus Veterans Memorial Home in NJ.

Peter and Gabrielle experienced an informative, life-changing tour, led expertly by two individuals: Anthony, the Home’s Recreation Director, and Susan, its Volunteer Director.

The mission statement of the Veterans Memorial Homes of New Jersey:

To honor and serve the Military Veteran, their spouses and Gold Star Parents by consistently providing the highest quality of resident directed long term care by maintaining excellence in personal services and treatment through professional collaboration, innovation and dedication; in a setting that promotes dignity and independence…. Our Homes provide a dignified environment to Veterans who have honorably served our country, and are now in need for nursing home services.

Peter Salerno visits the Paramus Veterans Memorial Home in NJ.
Peter Salerno visits the Paramus Veterans Memorial Home in NJ.

The Veterans Memorial Home is a beautiful facility, but the true beauty of the Home is its residents. The oldest residents are 102 years old and are proud veterans of World War II. Meeting these individuals was a privilege that Peter Salerno states he “will never forget”.

The benefits of the Home extend from veterans to their spouses, as well as to qualifying Gold Star parents of military veterans.

After his tour, Peter Salerno signed up to become a volunteer at the Paramus Veterans Memorial Homes. Peter and his family encourage citizens of New Jersey to explore becoming volunteers at these valuable Homes – volunteer efforts are greatly needed, and any amount of time one can dedicate is of tremendous value.

Peter Salerno visits the Paramus Veterans Memorial Home in NJ.
Peter Salerno visits the Paramus Veterans Memorial Home in NJ.

It was a day of gratitude for Peter Salerno and Gabrielle Mayer. Thank you to the volunteers who guided this wonderful tour, the NJ Veterans Affairs Department for housing our invaluable veterans and military heroes, and to the veterans of the United States Military for all they have given our country.

For more information about the Paramus Veterans Memorial Home and all the Homes in New Jersey, please visit the official website of NJ Veterans Affairs.

Peter Salerno visits the Paramus Veterans Memorial Home in NJ.
Peter Salerno visits the Paramus Veterans Memorial Home in NJ.

Memorial Day Tributes: This Year, Say More Than ‘Thank You’.

Why ‘Thank You’ Is Just the Beginning on Memorial Day

Thank you for your service. It’s a phrase that has become almost synonymous with Memorial Day (and to some extent, Veteran’s Day) in America. From billboards to TV ads, graphic design to greeting cards, these 5 words are the catch-all catchphrase that stands for a debt of gratitude that American citizens cannot possibly repay.

And so, with so much to be grateful for in a free country, it might be time to ask ourselves: “Shouldn’t we try to say just a bit more?”

This Memorial Day, say more than "Thank you for your service". (Credit: Peter Salerno Inc.)
This Memorial Day, say more than “Thank you for your service”. (Credit: Peter Salerno Inc.)

This line of thinking actually started a year ago, when we met with Peter Salerno, owner of our parent company Peter Salerno Inc. and a veteran of the United States Navy. On our way out of the meeting leading up to Memorial Day, we turned at the door and stated, “Hey – thank you for your service.”

Peter smiled, of course, and nodded his head in a “you’re welcome”. Later that day, we realized that while we meant what we said, Peter was probably going to hear the same 5 words dozens more times over the next several days, and had for decades before that.

This isn’t to say that veterans aren’t happy to hear “thank you for your service”. At their core, most American military veterans are humble, modest, and shy away from personal praise. They’re not looking for individual recognition or to be ‘singled out’ for their heroism and valor.

Peter Salerno, during his service in the U.S. Navy. Happy Memorial Day!
Peter Salerno, during his service in the U.S. Navy. Happy Memorial Day!

But just because our military heroes don’t ASK for more than a ‘thank you’ doesn’t mean we shouldn’t GIVE it to them.

Think about your own life – what you do, where you’ve been, and what roles you’ve come to occupy in your life. If you’re a teacher, it must be lovely to get your first few “World’s Best Teacher” gifts. As an actor, your first “Break a leg!” is a cool thing to hear. But after countless repetitions of the same well wishes and compliments – whether we mean it or not – those common refrains start to ring a bit hollow and a bit dry.

It doesn’t take much to put a little more effort into your gratitude this Memorial Day! 

If you have a family member, friend, loved one, neighbor or colleague that has served in our nation’s military, take an extra few minutes to find out more about their service, their personal likes and interests. “Design” the military veterans in your life a special show of your thanks – even if it’s as simple as crafting a new way to say “Thank you for your service”.

Take a little time to help a veteran with a project, errand or work around their home. Volunteer to drive an elderly veteran to a Memorial Day Parade or out to lunch. Or do something that’s increasingly rare these days – pick up the phone, send a letter, or make a personal visit.

To the U.S. military veterans and those who gave their lives in service of our country – we know “thank you” isn’t enough to repay you. We also know that you don’t ask for our gratitude, recognition or payment – your sacrifice is selfless. Regardless of why or how you entered the military, the fact remains that you gave of yourselves for the greater good of our country, and you personally protected the freedom and security of families like mine that you will never know or meet.

So this year, we’re choosing not to “thank you for your service”. Because in many ways, we should be thanking you for everything.