Tuckerton resident and Operation Desert Storm U.S. Army veteran Barbara Kim-Hagemann, who became the first woman to be elected commander of the New Jersey Veterans of Foreign Wars, is being honored by the Ocean County Freeholders.

Commander Hagemann is being presented a proclamation thanking her for her service and congratulating her on her new post during a special ceremony at the Brick VFW Post 8867 on Saturday.

Kim-Hagemann served 8 years in the Army and was deployed to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait during Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm.

After her discharge, she attended Georgian Court College in Lakewood and worked with the county Veterans Service Bureau, helping vets navigate the complex bureaucracy of the Veterans Administration.

Kim-Hagemann also served as the first female post commander in Ocean County when she took command of VFW Post 4703 in Jackson.

She later became the first district commander for Ocean County.

She is currently a member of VFW Post 6063 in Toms River.

“We’re extremely proud that an Ocean County resident and veteran is the new state commander of the VFW,” Freeholder Gerry P. Little, liaison to the Ocean County Veterans Service Bureau, said. “In her new post Commander Kim-Hagemann will continue to work closely with our Veterans Service Bureau Director John Dorrity to ensure that our veterans receive all of the benefits they deserve."

Freeholder Director Virginia E. Haines said she was pleased that Ocean County’s veterans will benefit from Kim-Hagemann’s leadership.

“Ocean County is home to more veterans than any other county in New Jersey,” Haines said. “Our veterans were there for us when we called upon them to defend our freedom, now thanks to Barbara Kim-Hagemann, the VFW and our own Ocean County Veterans Service Bureau, we will be there for them.”

Kim-Hagemann said a priority for her term as state commander will be combating the rising number veterans’ suicides through prevention and mental health awareness efforts.

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