Business & Finance

New Jersey Chamber of Commerce Honors the State's Vets from Every War at Annual Gala

Archie Fagan, World War II honored veteran, enjoys the company of his wife and fellow servicepeople. Credits: TAPinto East Brunswick
Now part of the Joint Base, Lakehurst witnessed the horrible crash of the airship Hindenburg. Credits: TAPinto East Brunswick
Remnants of the Hindenburg on display. Credits: TAPinto East Brunswick
Raritan's John Basilone was honored throughout the event. Credits: TAPinto East Brunswick
John Basilone's telegram greeting to his mom. Credits: TAPinto East Brunswick
Sponsors created a lovely event for the NJ Chamber. Credits: TAPinto East Brunswick
Celebrating the achievement of New Jersey veterans and businesspeople Credits: TAPinto East Brunswick
Creative carving at the Park Chateau in East Brunswick Credits: TAPinto East Brunswick
Social time before dinner. Credits: TAPinto East Brunswick
Statewide representatives of the Chamber Credits: TAPinto East Brunswick
Thank you for your service Credits: TAPinto East Brunswick
Now, that's the tie to wear to this patriotic event! Credits: TAPinto East Brunswick
Event organizers were happy to serve at the Chamber gala. Credits: TAPinto East Brunswick
Glad to be participating in the Chamber gala. Credits: TAPinto East Brunswick
Guests were uniformly happy. Credits: TAPinto East Brunswick
A posh nosh at the Park Chateau. Credits: TAPinto East Brunswick
An elegant evening Credits: TAPinto East Brunswick
New members of the NJ Chamber anticipate great things ahead. Credits: TAPinto East Brunswick
The party moved outside to the patio near the Park Chateau chapel. Credits: TAPinto East Brunswick
Working to build a successful, new New Jersey Credits: TAPinto East Brunswick
The pride of the military meet the pride of Lassus Wherley of New Providence. Credits: TAPinto East Brunswick
Celebrating accomplishment all around Credits: TAP
Everyone meets at Archie's Lounge with WWII vet Archie Fagan Credits: TAPinto East Brunswick
Ready to represent New Jersey at the 2017 Liberty Gala Credits: TAPinto East Brunswick
All smiles at the annual event Credits: TAPinto East Brunswick
New Jersey State Senator Sam Thompson joins in celebrating our veterans and businesspeople. Credits: TAPinto East Brunswick
A burned and oxidized piece of the HIndenburg Credits: TAPinto East Brunswick
An image from New Jersey's Vietnam Veterans Memorial Credits: TAPinto East Brunswick
Proudly representing Central New Jersey's Air Force bases and war memorials Credits: TAPinto East Brunswick
Lovely people in a lovely setting at the Park Chateau Credits: TAPinto East Brunswick
World War II veterans held conversations and greeted gala attendees. Credits: TAPinto East Brunswick
An important reminder Credits: TAPinto East Brunswick
About 400 people attended the event. Credits: TAPinto East Brunswick
The representative of Lassus Wherley, on of the event's sponsors, enjoy a meal and some lively conversation. Credits: TAPinto East Brunswick
The Blue Crew at the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce gala Credits: TAPinto East Brunswick
A gracious dinner in good company Credits: TAPinto East Brunswick
Army Vet Archie Fagan of the Freehold Shop-Rite receives an award. Credits: TAPinto East Brunswick
Many honors were given and received to people who elevated New Jersey's business community or who protected our country. Credits: TAPinto East Brunswick
Chris Vaz, Seaside Heights Business Administrator, is joined by veterans who travelled far for the event to show honor to those who served. Credits: TAPinto East Brunswick
Police K-9 Basilone works for the Somerset County Sheriff's Office. Credits: TAPinto East Brunswick

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - New Jersey's veterans were honored by the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce at a festive gala last week at East Brunswick's Park Chateau. 

The annual gathering of the state's business community centered on the years of service veterans from the state gave to the nation. There was particular focus on those who were stationed at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst and those who continue to serve there.

World War II Army veteran Archie Fagan, who was honored at the event, seemed to personify the qualities associated with a life of respect and service. He was introduced, by Chamber Senior Vice-President for Communications Ray Zardetto, as an "unrelenting force of optimism."

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However, Fagan demurred and descried himself as "just a lucky survivor."

He served in the 4th Armored Division under General George Patton. He helped liberate the Dachau concentration camp and he was a military observer at the Nuremburg trials. Fagan's remarks were greeted with an enthusiastic acclamation from the audience.

Also recognized were New Jersey veterans and heroes from every military engagement since the American Revolution.  They included Montclair's Buzz Aldrin, who served in Korea; Oliver Cromwell, who crossed the Delaware River with George Washington on Christmas night 1776; Jersey City's Martin Dempsey, who served as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Elizabeth's Admiral William Halsey, who served as a Navy commander during World War II; Trenton's Mary Ludwig, more famously known as Molly Pitcher, who represented an amalgam of women who supported the soldiers on the New Jersey battlefields during the Revolution and Ridgewood's Thomas McGuire, one of the  greatest flying aces and most decorated pilots in World War II.

Displays featured the personal effects and memorabilia of "Manila John" Basilone, who grew up in Raritan and was awarded the Medal of Honor, the highest decoration issued by the military. Basilone was honored for his heroism as a gunnery sergeant at the battles of Guadalcanal and Iwo Jima. 

In 2016, the Navy named a destroyer in his honor and the Somerset County Sheriff's Office this year named their service dog "Basilone," it was noted.

Also recognized for a variety of accomplishments this year were members of the chamber. Thomas Bracken, president and CEO of the chamber, and Donna Custard, president of the Chamber Foundation, hosted the event.

"From the chamber's inception - Thomas Edison was a founding member in 1911 - the organization's talented leaders have provided the guidance necessary to develop solutions to the important, tough issues of the day," Bracken said.




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