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NJ National Guard settling in with new role as caretakers at veterans memorial home

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Bernabe Aguero is one of more than 800 New Jersey National Guard members activated to support the state’s COVID-19 response.

Originally from La Plata, Argentina, Aguero grew up near Atlantic City, and recently graduated with a Master’s Degree in International Relations from Norwich University. He is assigned to the 177th Fighter Wing’s Public Affairs office, where he is waiting for a technical school date to become fully qualified.

Aguero is deployed to the Veterans Memorial Home in Paramus, N.J., where he is assisting the activities director.

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“What an amazing feeling it is to be helping out,” said Aguero. “These are unprecedented times we are in. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, Paramus Veterans Home is not able to allow family members to visit. Fortunately, we do have technology to bridge that gap with video calls.”

Aguero said that the home received a donation that included tablets, and he was put in charge of coordinating video chat calls between residents and their families. He manages a joint team of Airmen and Soldiers, who have been suiting up and connecting some of the most critically ill patients with their loved ones.

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“Seeing how happy the families are when they can actually see the resident really does fill you with a sense of pride,” said Aguero.

While Aguero has roots in South Jersey, he has close ties to Paramus, living in the next town over in Hackensack.

“This is my community. This is my state,” said Aguero. “I want to see it come out the other side of this pandemic stronger than before.”

New Jersey National Guard service members are deployed throughout the state at long term care facilities, COVID-19 test sites, Operations Centers, and Federal Medical Stations.

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