“ROCK OUR VETS”
By John R. Bodin III
Please allow me to introduce myself; my name is John R. Bodin III, and I'm a retired U.S. Army Master Sergeant, with 31 years of service (primarily as an infantryman and paratrooper).
Recently, I had the unfortunate experience of falling on hard times, with regard to my financial status. In short, I was unemployed, and couldn't pay my rent; which meant that, I was facing the prospect of becoming just another homeless veteran. (It’s sad to think that, currently, there are over 49,000 homeless veterans across this once great nation.)
At that point, I contacted Mr. A.J. Luna, the Director of the Bergen County Veterans Services, in Hackensack, New Jersey, to see what assistance he could render. He, in turn, referred me to a couple of agencies, which, as it turns out, would require a ton of paperwork, and a copy of an eviction notice, before they could offer any assistance. Unfortunately, I hadn't yet been served with an eviction notice; and waiting for one, before I could receive any help, was akin to having a truck hit me first.
Realizing the severity of my situation, Mr. Luna instructed me to contact a Mr. Ted Knapp, the Director of an organization called, “Rock Our Vets,” and gave me his phone number.
Upon contacting Mr. Knapp, he invited me to meet with him at his home that evening, and bring a copy of my military discharge form (DD-214), along with the name and address of my landlord.
During my meeting with Mr. Knapp, (which lasted only about 15 minutes), I explained my situation to him. After listening to my predicament, Mr. Knapp immediately wrote out a check to my landlord and gave it to me; thus, preventing me from becoming another homeless veteran. (I must admit that, I was shocked at how quickly he responded to my plight.)
Being a college graduate with a degree in journalism; I decided to research Mr. Knapp and his organization, and what I discovered was that:
Rock Our Vets is a nationwide “all-volunteer,” 501(c)3 certified non-profit organization, which was founded in October of 2015, by Dave Mason (of Rock Music fame) and Ted Knapp.
It should be noted that, this organization is comprised of a number of famous rock musicians and vocalists, who support this cause. Artists such as: Rick Derringer, Kip Winger, Johnne Sambataro, Pat Travers, Phil McCormack (of Molly Hatchet), Mark Stein & Vince Martell (of Vanilla Fudge), the Doobie Brothers, , Franke Previte, Bobby Messano, John Ford, Mark Farner, and the list goes on.
The organization’s mission is to provide for any veteran in crisis and their family, with whatever needs to be done. Their focus is on a variety of veteran related issues. The first being, the issue surrounding the extremely high rate of suicides among our veterans; at a current alarming rate of 22 per day. (The Suicide Hotline is: 1 800 273-TALK , then press 1 for veterans.)
Rock Our Vets is also involved in supplying food, clothing and the basic needs to our veterans and their families. And, aside from taking care of their basic needs; they're also providing laptop computers to veterans for their civilian careers or educational pursuits. What's more, they've also expanded their mission to include assisting the families of fallen Police Officers and Firefighters.
Finally, their core belief is that: Our veterans need to be taken care of upon their separation from the military. This also applies to our fallen Police Officers and Firefighters, who are also out there protecting us and putting their lives on the line to keep us all safe. Their motto is: “Doing Whatever Needs To be Done For Our Veterans.”
(Note: Your clothing, food [canned goods, non-perishable], and monetary contributions to this worthwhile, charitable organization, are welcome and greatly appreciated—and, best of all, tax deductible!)
The contact information for this organization is listed below:
Rock Our Vets: 501(c)3 Military, Police & Fire Charity Foundation
Mr. Ted Knapp, Founder & Executive Director
2075 91st Street, Unit 2
North Bergen, New Jersey 07047
Phone #: 1 (732) 674-2860
Email: info@RockOurVets.org or Ted@RockOurVets.org Website: www.RockOurVets.org
Dave Mason and Ted Knapp