WASHINGTON, D.C. – Jerome “Jerry” Blum of Colchester recently was elected and installed as national commander of the Jewish War Veterans of the USA (JWV) at the organization’s convention in Tampa, Fla.
Born in Hartford to the late Milton and Freda Wilson Blum, Blum enlisted in the U.S. Navy two weeks after graduating from high school. Assigned to the USS Vance, he was sent to the North Bering Sea as part of the Dewline Picket Patrol, then to Pearl Harbor in Hawaii and from there to Vietnam, where he spent close to three years operating the Evaporators, which convert sea water into fresh water.
Following his discharge, Blum went to work at Hartford’s Institute of Living, where he met Joanne, his wife of 47 years and a past national president (2013-14) of the JWV Ladies Auxiliary. The Blums are parents of two daughters – Michelle, who lost her battle with pancreatic cancer six years ago, and Jennifer; two granddaughters, Melissa and Debbie, and a grandson, Jordan. His sister, Judy FitzGerald, is president of JWV’s John L. Levitow Auxiliary 45, in West Hartford.
A JWV life member, Blum has served two times each as commander of Post 45 and as department commander. More recently, he served as department quartermaster (treasurer) and he has chaired many committees on both a national and local level.
Blum is also a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Vietnam Veterans of America, Disabled American Veterans, American Legion and Amvets. Recently, he joined the local Antique Veterans, a group that renders military honors (rifle volleys) for deceased veterans at cemeteries.
Active in a variety of communal affairs, the Blums are members of Temple Beth Tefilah in East Hartford, where they serve on the Board of Directors. They also volunteer for Relay for Life, which raises money for cancer research.
“I believe that our culture will ultimately be judged by how we treat all warriors and veterans, especially those who are homeless or less fortunate,” says Blum, whose slogan is “Join with Jerry.”
It all begins with education and respect for one another. That means, he says, “ that all of our veteran’s service organizations need to work together. To this end, I am looking forward to working with local and national groups for the betterment of all warriors and veterans.”
Formed in 1896 as the Hebrew Union Veterans, the Jewish War Veterans was created for the purpose of negating the commonly accepted slanderous notion that Jews had not participated in the military between the War Between the States (the Civil War). Today, the Jewish War Veterans of the USA continues to combat antisemitism and bigotry. The JWV National Headquarters, located at 1811 R Street in Washington, D.C., houses the National Museum of American Jewish Military History, which is open to the public.