Mitzvot from the Heart: Jordan DeBlasi

Jordan DeBlasi, Congregation Shaare Emeth

Jordan DeBlasi, son of Dana and Vince DeBlasi of Ballwin, chose to use his mitzvah project to help military veterans. He supported a food pantry at Jefferson Barracks run by H.E.R.O.E.S.  (Homefront Enabling Relationships, Opportunities, and Empowering through Support) Care, which coordinates nongovernmental organizations to support members of all branches of the military and their families. Jordan’s grandfather, local author Alan Spector, wrote an article about the mitzvah project. An edited version of that article appears below.

Looking out the window on a cool, blustery, November day, Jordan could see some of the rows of  nearly 200,000 gravestones of military veterans and their family members in the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery. Inside, he could see the huge American Flag that covered one wall of the ceremony room. Surrounded by his family, 12-year-old Jordan was about to be honored by others for what he had done for others.

In preparation for his Nov. 29 bar mitzvah, Jordan was asked to select a Project Chesed mitzvah project.  Without hesitation, Jordan declared, “Something for veterans.” After searching through a number of options, Jordan learned that one of the issues military families face is economic hardship, sometimes making it difficult for them to afford food. He also learned there was a H.E.R.O.E.S. Care food pantry at Jefferson Barracks. 

In the month after the High Holidays, Jordan set up a food collection station at Shaare Emeth; spoke to schoolmates, friends and relatives to let them know why donating to the food pantry was so important; and amassed barrels full of foodstuffs for the pantry. Jordan was able to persuade  others to participate because he was so passionate about the effort. 

“The military and their families serve us. We should give back to them,” Jordan said. “It’s just the right thing to do.”  

In the Jefferson Barracks ceremony room, Capt. Paul Leoni, 1st Sgt. Joseph Schicker and 15 National Guard troops assembled. With the troops in formation and at attention, Leoni thanked Jordan and presented him with a certificate, which in part reads:

“In recognition for successfully creating and implementing a food drive … being donated and issued to soldiers and their families.”  

He then shook Jordan’s hand and handed him a gold “Award of Excellence” coin. When the troops were ordered to fall out, they lined up and shook hands with Jordan, thanking him for his actions. Several of the troops pulled Velcro-attached patches from their uniforms and presented them to Jordan in their handshake. Jordan left the ceremony with an American flag, and Airborne and Special Forces badges.  

Joining Jordan for the ceremony was David Woolley, vice chairman of the board of H.E.R.O.E.S. Care and Jordan’s host throughout the morning. Jordan also toured Jefferson Barracks and the food pantry, where he was able to see families in need selecting food.   

To donate to H.E.R.O.E.S. Care, visit  

Mitzvot from the Heart, a feature focusing on local bar and bat mitzvah projects, is compiled by Editorial Assistant Elise Krug. To have your child’s project included, email [email protected] or call 314-743-3671.