Ray Chimileski

Long Valley

2008 Honoree

Focus Area:

Veteran Support

Organizational Affiliation:


Upon hearing of three homeless Vietnam veterans living under a railroad trestle in Dover, Ray Chimileski of Califon went to see for himself. He found a dozen men living under an outcropping of rock, without basic winter clothing. That year, Operation Chillout was launched as an interfaith, grassroots coalition of volunteers dedicated to easing the burden of homeless people throughout northern New Jersey. The program has grown to include voluntary contributions from knitting groups, local businesses and merchants and law enforcement to help those in need. Last December, 60 Operation Chillout volunteers delivered 600 duffel bags to the homeless and 75 gift bags to battered women. Hoping to create a non-profit organization to expand his work, Ray never turns down an opportunity to talk about easing the burden of homelessness, one person at a time.