Esther Chucaralao hails from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. She came to the United States when she was 16 years old. When she arrived, her family moved to the Bronx. Proud of her new homeland, she enlisted in the United States Navy to serve her country and explore their incredible range of career fields and opportunities. 

Esther served in the United States Navy from 2003 to 2010 as a Navy seaman and a personnel specialist. As a personnel specialist, her duties included providing her fellow shipmates with counseling and information to Navy related occupations, general education and job training opportunities, rights and benefits, and promotion requirements. She also assisted in determining travel entitlements and maintained and audited the pay and personnel records of Navy enlisted personnel. 

During her time in the U.S. Navy, Esther completed her bachelor’s degree at Excelsior College. She was awarded a humanitarian medal for helping with the recovery efforts after Hurricane Katrina.  She also had one deployment to the Middle East. Esther left the U.S. Navy as Petty Officer Second Class.  

After leaving the U.S. Navy, Esther relocated to the New York Metropolitan area.  She made New Jersey her official home. She attended Felician University to pursue her master’s degree in psychology. After obtaining her master’s degree, she was hired by the New Jersey Department of Children and Families. A few years later, Esther pursued her dream and desire to assist the veterans community. Her dream was fulfilled when she was hired as a Veteran Service Officer for the New Jersey Department of Military and Veteran Affairs. As a V.S.O., Esther assists local veterans in filing for disability claims, non-services connection pension, and accessing other state and local veteran benefits. Esther’s office is in Jersey City at the Jersey City Armory. 

Along with assisting veterans as part of her job, Esther volunteers her time at numerous veteran outreach events.  She is a member of the NJ SOS Veterans Stakeholders Group, a group that advocates for a variety of veterans’ issues in 11 New Jersey counties.  She played a vital role in providing feedback to key stakeholders regarding female veterans’ issues. This work led to the passage of the Senate Joint Resolution No. 114 into law, designating June 12th of each year as “Women Veterans Appreciation Day” in New Jersey.

She currently resides in Fairview, New Jersey.  She is married to her husband, Sergio Chucaralao. Sergio is also a veteran that is currently serving in the New Jersey National Guard and is employed by New Jersey Transit.  He recently returned from a deployment from the Horn of Africa in 2019.  Together they have a beautiful daughter, Andrea, 7.

Nominate a Veteran for #BergenCountyVeteranOfTheWeek

Do you want to light up the face of a special Veteran? Have you been wondering how to tell your Veteran they are special to you?

The #BergenCountyVeteranOfTheWeek social media feature is an opportunity to highlight your Veteran and his/her service.

It’s easy to nominate a Veteran. Visit our blog post about nominating to learn how to create the best submission.

Bergen County Division of Veteran Services

The Division of Veterans Services was established in 1977 to provide resident veterans and their dependents with information and assistance in obtaining earned entitlements from federal, state, and local governments, as well as any that are available from the private sector.

Through a quarterly newsletter and direct client contact, the division provides Bergen’s veterans organizations and their auxiliaries and individual residents with up-to-date benefit information.

Picture of Commissioner Steve Tanelli

Commissioner Steve Tanelli

Steven A. Tanelli was elected to the Bergen County Board of Commissioners on November 6, 2012. Commissioner Tanelli served as Chairman in 2016 and 2021, Vice Chairman in 2015, and Chair Pro Tempore in 2020.

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