When veterans began dying of the coronavirus at the New Jersey Veterans Home in Paramus, Alex Saldana, a Scout with Oradell’s Troop 36, wanted to offer his support.
However, he did not want his support to end there, so when researching for his Eagle Scout project recently, Alex used it as a great opportunity to continue helping the veterans.
“These are people who made a sacrifice for our country and I really wanted to show them that they weren’t forgotten, and people cared about them,” he noted.
Throughout the month of June, Alex gathered diabetic socks, sweats, shirts, deodorant, shampoo, body wash, and other necessities. He also placed nearly 3,000 flyers at homes in Oradell to let neighbors know what was needed.
He and 20 fellow Scouts collected thousands of items and $11,000 to buy more supplies.
I was proud to recognize local Scout, Alex Saldana, for his incredible commitment to supporting our veteran community here in North Jersey!We must always get the backs of those who’ve so bravely had ours.
“I felt proud that I’m spreading this awareness for the veterans and seeing the community care so much,” he said, adding, “I’m so grateful for the community that came together to help.”
Honoring the nation’s veterans means a lot to Alex because his father served in the Marine Corps.
“It kind of brings tears to my eye and I got choked up a little bit,” David Saldana said of Alex’s project. “It’s overwhelming joy, and I’m very proud of him.”
The teenagers collected enough to take donations to two additional veterans’ homes in New Jersey. Alex also has a plan to improve the Paramus home by refurbishing its garden, painting the atrium, and putting in benches.
Yahaira Padilla, executive assistant to the director of Veteran Services for Bergen County, said, “The love for his country and love for fellow man is amazing to see.”