BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - The VFW Post 6259 hosted a town barbecue on Saturday with food, music and fun on an unseasonably cool afternoon. With the recent 12th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the timely barbecue has brought the community together to support and honor the veterans that have served the nation.
VFW Chef Shiloh Frampton and the VFW volunteers tended to the barbecue pits preparing the four pigs on Friday to slow cook through the night to be ready for the afternoon feast. The Berkeley Heights Volunteer Fire Department helped to cook two of the pigs at the Fire House. Peggy Dendinger, President of the Berkeley Heights Volunteer Rescue Squad and her daughter Mary Catherine worked the food tent. The smorgesbord of pork, chicken, hamburgers, hot dogs, various salads, corn and Friendly's ice cream was plentiful.
With 200 pre-sold tickets and 170 door prizes to give away, the volunteers were ready to enjoy this festive community event. 50/50 tickets were sold and door prize winners were called throughout the day. Prizes included a golf foursome to Basking Ridge Country Club and a golf outing at the Coakley-Russo Memorial Golf Course near the Lyons VA Hospital. Several area businesses and restaurants provided in-kind donations and gift certificates in support of the event.
Games for the children were run by the local Boys Scouts from Troop 68. The Boy Scouts were good sports by being the target in the crowd pleasing dunk tank. They cleaned-up and provided help to the VFW throughout the day. "The Boy Scouts earned volunteer hours for their day of helping the VFW," said Col. John Friedlander, who was supervising the scouts.
The Military Motor Pool rolled in and were on display. The veterans reminisced and educated the guests on the equipment and armory used in each of the jeeps from the World War II to the Vietnam era. Vehicles were provided by Central Jersey Military Motor Pool, www.cjmmp.org, an affiliate of the Military Vehicle Preservation Association.
Walter Gloss, Post Commander, was more than happy to host the community event for the second year. The VFW is passionate about the support they provide to the Lyons VA Hospital and helping veterans in need. This barbecue serves as a major fundraiser for the post, and the outpouring of support is appreciated. Proceeds from this event are going towards the "Buddy Poppy" fund. This fund is devoted exclusively to ailing veterans rehabilitation and welfare and are in a separate "Relief Fund" that must be utilized for their aid only. The VFW Post 6259 is also setting up a yearly college scholarship for Governor Livingston High School.
Gloss said, "We are happy to bring the community together and have the town support." Several town organizations enjoyed the community barbecue including members from the Township Council, Rescue Squad and Police Department.
The VFW Post 6259 Town Barbecue and interview with Walter Gloss, Post Commander, will be featured on "This Week in Berkeley Heights," a 15-minute community news program aired weekly on Thursday evenings at 7 p.m. on Comcast 34 and FIOS 47, hosted by journalists from The Alternative Press of Berkeley Heights.
The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) - Post 6259 of Berkeley Heights has been in existence since 1946. Its members are military veterans who did tour of duty in a combat zone during the following conflicts: World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. The VFW is a service organization that provides service to the community and aids current veterans, their widows and orphans.