Vietnam Veterans of America

Chapter 800 

Bergen County, NJ

Shannon Jordan

Sponsor: Walter McAuliffe

Attendng:Sacred Heart University

​ How has the Veteran in your family influenced your life?

The veteran in my life, my Poppop, has not only taught me everything I need to know about the Vietnam War and what life was like as a soldier, but has also instilled in me the courage and confidence to do whatever I set my mind on. Since before I can even remember, my Poppop has been one of my biggest supporters and invests tremendously in my life. He's at every dance performance, awards ceremony, and birthday party without even having to be asked and he is always the first to make sure that I have absolutely everything I need, whether it be a ride home from school or one of the big rainbow sprinkle cookies from the local diner. He has taught me all of the most important life lessons, such as "There's no cure for stupid" and "Life's not fair," and also a plethora of "things not known to kings" and songs that would be great to choreograph a dance to. Growing up, I had always admired my Poppop for his wisdom and his kindness, and it was always calming to know that he always had my back. However, it wasn't until I entered high school when I began to understand how truly fortunate I was to have a role model like him in my life. I attend a Catholic high school, and one of the things emphasized is the importance of service to the community. Throughout high school I gained a love and passion for service, which allowed me to gain a new appreciation for what my Poppop does on a regular basis. He cooks hot meals for veterans and delivers them himself, while also making conversation with each and every person. The:fact that he, a seventy one year old veteran, who is himself disabled from his years in service, is still setting aside the time to give back to those in need is extremely honorable and he motivates me each day to continue serving in college and beyond.”


  Congratulations to Kasie Marella and Shannon Jordan
Winners of the Chapter ''800'' Kevin O'Neil 20th Annual Scholarship

​Each received $1000 payable to their College

Please read their essays below


Kasie Marrella
Sponsor: Pat De Laura
Attending Rutgers University

 How has the Veteran in your family influenced your life?

 Many people have someone close to them who they look up to and have inspired them to do amazing things. The brave men and women who go to war and fight for our freedom are very inspiring to me, and I am so proud to say that my uncle, Patsy De Laura, is one of these people. He has shown a remarkable amount of bravery and devotion to our country, and for that I will always look up to him. His countless stories and interesting facts about his time overseas have taught me to be strong and to put others before myself in times where it will benefit the greater good.

My uncle was deployed to S. Vietnam in 1966 at the age of 19. He safely returned home in July of 1967, which was a couple of months after my mom was born. During his tour of duty, he was part of the military police in the 4th infantry division of the army. His troop strength was over 400,000. I was in awe of the amount of people in his troop alone who were willing to serve and protect our country. To this day, he still shows a tremendous amount of patriotism and is an extremely proud Vietnam veteran. Every year, he visits the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C. to pay his respects to those who he was in battle with. He also takes part in meetings for the American Legion and various fundraisers to help benefit military and veteran communities.

            I have never met someone with more love for their country than my Uncle Pat. His bravery is a constant reminder to me of the freedom we are so fortunate to have in this country, and that is all because of the people like him who have and continue to fight for us. My uncle’s time in Vietnam has forever changed my overall perspective of life and how valuable it is. I have realized that a lot of times things in this country are taken for granted. My life today wouldn’t be the same if it weren’t for the sacrifices my uncle made. It makes me so proud to live in a country that my uncle defended so passionately, and his service has shaped my own patriotism. I will forever thank him for selflessly serving our country and being someone who I will always look up to as being a true hero.