Government

Veterans Memorial Park Dedication Draws Large Crowd in Berkeley Heights: New Monument Unveiled

"Operation: We Remember The Dedication of Veterans Memorial Park" Credits: Bobbie Peer
997b7ce5c2b11c5d4a06_DSCF3457.JPG
Large turnout in Berkeley Heights for Veterans Memorial Park dedication ceremony and the unveiling of new monument.  Credits: Bobbie Peer
a4987bea962ca1df25de_DSCF3291.JPG
Mayor Bob Woodruff and council members Mark Faecher, Jeanne Kingsley, Ed Delia, Mike D'Aquila, Craig Pastore. Credits: Bobbie Peer
101f051bd1130f07b27d_DSCF3294.JPG
The late Vito Mondelli was honored as Grand Marshal of the canceled Memorial Day Parade. Credits: Bobbie Peer
66173b7e5a201e916bb3_DSCF3302.JPG
Credits: Bobbie Peer
e3251e269523ce543fe8_DSCF3303.JPG
Credits: Bobbie Peer
a380815ea88e4c735491_DSCF3306.JPG
Credits: Bobbie Peer
fb68d3b39dbc529e2617_DSCF3308.JPG
Credits: Bobbie Peer
cbf4188e8cc38a26e1dd_DSCF3310.JPG
Credits: Bobbie Peer
c365242ebf5eba96c373_DSCF3315.JPG
Trent Fettes spoke on behalf of Vito Mondeli. Credits: Bobbie Peer
79f23cd83a47c7c6bac5_DSCF3325.JPG
Credits: Bobbie Peer
6658c69ae79f9a56de97_DSCF3329.JPG
Credits: Bobbie Peer
2a12f1b5a5aa3a24fce8_DSCF3330.JPG
Ted Romankow, Chairman of the Berkeley Heights Memorial Park Renewal Project. Credits: Bobbie Peer
76257460a3019e2eb782_DSCF3334.JPG
The quilters from Westminster Presbyterian Church presented a quilt to a veteran. Credits: Bobbie Peer
eaac682d0f5d90872455_DSCF3340.JPG
Credits: Bobbie Peer
55b5c0b42d4614f1abb2_DSCF3355.JPG
Credits: Bobbie Peer
d90367f83b06479dfb07_DSCF3365.JPG
Credits: Bobbie Peer
d754c1ae9a6ebfc1242f_DSCF3369.JPG
Credits: Bobbie Peer
65fc4ea832f3b4a987e8_DSCF3374.JPG
Credits: Bobbie Peer
afafa098809274645b53_DSCF3390.JPG
Credits: Bobbie Peer
29eeabce6947e0341ac6_DSCF3391.JPG
Credits: Bobbie Peer
e6eb9febdb37fa557787_DSCF3398.JPG
Credits: Bobbie Peer
e68cca3eb8562dfcc4ef_DSCF3400.JPG
Credits: Bobbie Peer
dbc25679c0241251431d_DSCF3402.JPG
Credits: Bobbie Peer
bbc2589c3b9f0699d856_DSCF3405.JPG
Credits: Bobbie Peer
5621db7780ed936e860f_DSCF3422.JPG
Credits: Bobbie Peer
5c7b62044d08a114b546_DSCF3430.JPG
Credits: Bobbie Peer
770c3f36d6ebd6a16529_DSCF3433.JPG
Credits: Bobbie Peer
b518ef75d362bcabd3eb_DSCF3438.JPG
Credits: Bobbie Peer
b2616b5af15e2cff5258_DSCF3439.JPG
Credits: Bobbie Peer
1fe94197d616c1292d0b_DSCF3441.JPG
Credits: Bobbie Peer
8050916696eb64d02b8a_DSCF3444.JPG
Credits: Bobbie Peer
5497a5596facb4f02f87_DSCF3446.JPG
Stephen Yellin and Ted Romankow. Credits: Bobbie Peer
79970be55fe8dbe6a58c_DSCF3453.JPG
Credits: Bobbie Peer
527b700034f0dae9cf76_DSCF3454.JPG
Credits: Bobbie Peer
824f78107de44cf6791f_DSCF3455.JPG
Credits: Bobbie Peer
02ec90c3910cc6ae130e_DSCF3458.JPG
Credits: Bobbie Peer
69d96c5755c0d3fd78e3_DSCF3460.JPG
Memorial Park Renewal Project committee members: Gay Hollowell, Ted Romankow and Midge Vicendese. Credits: Bobbie Peer
997b7ce5c2b11c5d4a06_DSCF3457.JPG

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Residents of Berkeley Heights gathered for the rescheduled dedication ceremony for Veterans Memorial Park and the unveiling of the newest monument on Saturday, June 4. The ceremony was originally scheduled to follow the Memorial Day Parade on May 30 which was canceled due to anticipated inclement weather.

The refurbished park represents the outpouring of community support and commitment to never forget those who have sacrificed the most. The park is a place that honors all of those who have come before -- who have sacrificed, said Mayor Robert Woodruff. "It is a place for all of us to come and pause and remember."

"We can not forget," said Ted Romankow, Chairman of the Berkeley Heights Memorial Park Renewal Committee. "Every single member of this committee is committed to one thing and that was to have a memorial that we would be proud of today and forever more."

Sign Up for E-News

This project began two years ago when the late Vito Mondelli discussed the park's deterioration with Romankow. Romankow and Mondelli were both part of the original committee, along with  Leon Ciferni and John Elward, who created the park 30 years ago.

"A group of us decided we were going to do something special, we were going to try and renovate this existing memorial  -- bring it back to its original beauty -- because it deserved to be a special place of honor -- because what it represented -- the idea of liberty, the idea of these people who gave so much and sacrificed."

"There isn't a thing that hasn't been renovated or replaced. All was donated, given or purchased by you, the people of Berkeley Heights," said Romankow. See related article.

Romankow thanked the many individuals, groups and businesses that donated both in-kind and monetary donations to surpass their goal of raising $150,000. Committee members were recognized: Arthur Barbera, Lauren Boyd, Leon Ciferni, John DiPasquale, John Elward, William Fettes, Andrew Gallitelli, Gay Hollowell, Councilman Craig Pastore, Stephen Siera, Midge Vicendese and Mayor Robert Woodruff.

Woodruff along with Joe Plocinski [father of Matt Plocinski, currently serving in the military] unveiled the newest monument that honors those who have served most recently in the Persian Gulf and the ongoing War on Terror -- and sits beside the four existing memorial stones honoring those who served in World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam and Southeast Asia.

"We are here to honor those that in the last 250 years have sacrificed their life and sacrificed their youth for this country," said Mayor Woodruff. "We stand here today to honor America and those who have taken the time and sacrifice the ultimate defending America. They are defending an idea. It’s an idea that people are entitled to be free."

This freedom comes at a cost of lives lost. "All of us are here today to honor that," said Mayor Woodruff.

In attendance were town officials that included Council President Jeanne Kingsley, Council Vice President Craig Pastore, Councilmen Ed Delia, Marc Faecher and Mike D'Aquila along with many members of the Berkeley Heights Police Department, Fire Department, Rescue Squad, DPW, veterans and their families, and citizens.

The ceremony opened with the invocation and dedication prayers by Reverend Diane Ruffle, Pastor of Westminster Presbyterian Church, Pledge of Allegiance was led by Boy Scouts. The musical segment of the ceremony included a medley of patriotic songs by members of Hickory Tree Chorus [Shayna Atkinson, Rita Peyton, Dana Dunlevy and Rosemarie Gerber].

Last year's Memorial Day Parade Grand Marshal Trent Fettes honored the late Cpl. Vito Mondelli, United States Marine Corp, as this year's Grand Marshal. Fettes reflected on Mondelli as loving people and his pride of being born and raised in Berkeley Heights. "He often referred to Berkeley Heights as his town," said Fettes. Mondelli is also known for his many years as foreman of the DPW, for his fruits, vegetables, shrubbery and the honor system.

"Today we rededicate this park with a significant donation in memory of Vito in honor of all fallen soldiers and service members," said Fettes. "On behalf of all veterans that live Memorial Day every day, we thank you Mr. Romankow and the entire committee. Vito would be very proud of the outcome."

A dedicated group of quilters from Westminster Presbyterian Church presented Warren Buttler, World War II Veteran with a Quilt of Honor. Quilts of Honor cover service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing quilts. 

The Color Guard took their position by the wreaths as the ceremony continued with the Memorial Prayer given by Shilo Frampton, VFW Chaplain and honoring the deceased member of VFW Post 6259. The ceremony concluded with the playing of Taps by GL Highlander Band bagpiper Andrew Stecher.

VFW Post 6259 Commander Raymond DiGiambatista reminded the large crowd that many veterans continue to suffer with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). “Think of those that dwell in that state constantly. Walking the thin line between reality and the horror they can’t forget.” said DiGiambatista. His hope is that the wounded warriors will receive better care. “Remember and give thanks to those who suffer because they cared for you. They now pay a heavy price. Maybe a silent prayers can save a life,” he said.

The annual Berkeley Heights Memorial Day Ceremony formally ended with a benediction by the Church of the Little Flower Rev. Andrew  Onyemaobi. The celebration then resumed with complementary refreshments and hot dogs in Memorial Field.

Engraved Challenge coins were handed out to all veterans with the fallen soldier on one side and the memorial on the back side.

The ceremony was presented by Tom Barton and the Berkeley Heights Special Events Committee of the Recreation Department; Dennis Ryan and the Memorial Day Parade Committee; and Ted Romankow and the Memorial Park Renewal Project Committee. The following businesses provided donations: Hall's Garden Center, Stop & Shop Supermarket, Walgreens, Chimney rock Inn, 7-Eleven, Dean's Greens, Smith Chiropractic, Rita's, Suburban/Berkeley Heights Chamber of Commerce. 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Berkeley Heights

Annual Fishing Derby Returns to Oakwood Park on Saturday, April 28

April 20, 2018

Mark your calendars!  The annual Fishing Derby returns to Oakwood Park Saturday, April 28th, rain or shine, from 8:00 – 11:00am.  Co-sponsored by New Providence P.B.A. Local #132 and New Providence Recreation, this family favorite event is one of the borough’s “signs of spring”!

Bring your rod, reel & bait to fish for trout of varying sizes stocked in ...

Free Living History Event Showcases World War I Centennial

The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders invites residents and visitors to experience battlefield life as a World War I American Salvation Army volunteer, featuring Ms. Laurie MacDonald-Gaulke, actress and storyteller, in a special free presentation of “Doughnuts for Doughboys: A Salvation Army Lassie in France.”

Doughnuts for Doughboys takes place on Tuesday, April 25 at ...

Softball: Justina Benvenuto Named Union Catholic's Girls Conference Athlete of Week

SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- After bursting on the scene with a fabulous freshman softball season at Union Catholic last year, there was a lot of hype surrounding Justina Benvenuto as she entered her sophomore season.

Benvenuto has more than lived up to all the lofty expectations, both on the mound and at the plate as she has sparked the Vikings to a 6-1 record this spring.

Benvenuto has been ...

Thank You, St. Joseph's Volunteers

April 16, 2018

Thank You from St. Joseph Social Service Center

In recognition of National Volunteer Week, we would like to express our gratitude to the countless volunteers that serve the poor and homeless at St. Joseph Social Service Center in Elizabeth (http://www.sjeliz.org).  Whether you make a sandwich, collect toiletries, tutor in the job program, make soup, wrap Christmas gifts, donate food, ...

New Providence Borough Council to Cultivate Relationships with County Officials

April 12, 2018

NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – Councilman Robert Robinson touted the importance of personal relationships with Union County representatives at the Monday, April 9 council meeting.

Union County Freeholders Angel Estrada and Bette Jane Kowalski attended the Street Smart campaign kick-off event prior to the meeting providing the council members with the opportunity to chat face-to-face with the two ...

Chatham Township Committee Unanimously Adopts Ordinance to Ban Marijuana Retail Sales; Cannabis Advocates Disagree

April 13, 2018

CHATHAM, NJ - Chatham Township Mayor Curt Ritter began the new year by pledging to oppose Gov. Phil Murphy's plan to legalize the recreational use of marijuana and Thursday night he followed through by voting to adopt an ordinance that prohibits "marijuana cultivation, production testing, manufacturing facilities and retail stores' in the township.

The Chatham Township Committee ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_11433c9e92ddbc063eae_103a27776b9f3cdaaab1_img_2579

Sat, April 21, 11:00 AM

Our Lady of Peace , New Providence

Our Lady of the Peace Church Holds Healing & ...

Sun, April 22, 1:00 PM

17 Kent Place Boulevard, Summit

Self-Care Event

Health & Wellness

Sun, April 22, 1:00 PM

17 Kent Place Boulevard, Summit

Self-Care Event

Health & Wellness

Sun, April 22, 1:00 PM

Miller-Cory House Museum, Westfield

Sheep to Shawl Festival

Other

Sun, April 22, 1:00 PM

Miller-Cory House Museum, Westfield

Sheep to Shawl Festival

Education Other

Getting Real About Retirement – Will You Have Enough Money to Remain Comfortable?

Let’s get real about retirement. Will you have enough to remain comfortable in retirement for 30 years or more?  Studies show this is a recurring fear many Americans have - and for good reason. Many Americans are completely unprepared to fund a comfortable retirement, and remain naive about the actual costs involved.  As a Fee-Only financial advisor, my number one priority is ...