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Saturday, June 15, 2024

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Army Vet, Family Honored by OC American Legion Post with Week-long Vacation

By Doug Otto

OCEAN CITY – Ocean City American Legion Post 524 welcomed Army veteran Jason Bruce and his family to “America’s Greatest Family Resort” Aug. 12 for a week’s vacation, courtesy of the organization’s Rest & Relaxation Program.
According to a release, the Bruce family was honored during a lunchtime welcoming ceremony at Post 524, following a police and fire department motorcade and an escort into town by the Legion Riders.
The family was given the free use of a condominium for the week, as well as gifts from Ocean City businesses as a way to say “Thank You for your service and sacrifice.”
“Since 2013, Ocean City’s American Legion Post 524 has hosted military service personnel and their families while they enjoy our shore community and its many amenities,” stated Jerry Bonner, chairman of the R&R Committee. 
Originally from Fayetteville, N.C., Bruce joined the Army at the age of 25 and completed his basic training at Fort Bragg.
During his service, he was deployed once to Iraq and twice to Afghanistan, serving as a radioman, a trainer and a cargo specialist. His grandfather was a Korean War veteran, and his father was a member of the Army Special Forces.
The Bruce family now resides in Sicklerville and includes 13-year old daughter, Kayla, and Bruce’s wife, Megan, a 1995 graduate of Ocean City High School.
“I feel very honored to be receiving this recognition today,” stated Bruce during the awards ceremony. “My family has not enjoyed a vacation together in quite some time. This is just wonderful.”
A multitude of gifts, including dinners at local restaurants, product baskets, free beach parking passes and free admission to the Cape May County Zoo, have been donated by Ocean City businesses.
During the week, the Bruce family will receive the key to the city from Ocean City Mayor Jay Gillian.
“The Veterans Rest & Relaxation Program began seven years ago as a way to pay tribute to servicemen and women for sacrifices made during their time in the military,” stated R&R Chairman Bonner. “Whenever military personnel are deployed, their families also share in that deployment and we support their efforts as well.”
During the ceremony, members of The South Jersey Quilts of Valor Foundation presented Bruce with a personalized, handmade quilt in recognition of his military service. The pattern and stitching represented U.S. Army colors and designs
“Jason Bruce epitomizes the Legion’s Code of Honor ‘Veterans Helping Veterans’,” stated Post 524 Commander Bob Marzulli. “He continues to give back to the community through his active involvement in veterans projects such as Wounded Warriors.”
CAPTIONS
 R&R Chairman Jerry Bonner, left, with Kayla Bruce, honoree Jason Bruce, and Nancy McErlean, who donated her Ocean City condo to the veteran’s family.
 Members of The Legion Riders motorcycle brigade welcomed Army veteran Jason Bruce and his family. The Riders joined the Ocean City Fire Department and Police Department in a vehicle procession onto the island.
Army veteran Jason Bruce Staff was awarded a Quilt of Valor by the South Jersey Quilts of Valor Foundation for his years of service. QOVF members (left to right) Cathy DePaul, Michele Ogren, and Debbie Conrad display their handiwork.
Jason Bruce is wrapped in a Quilt of Valor by Michele Ogren and Cathy DePaul.

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