MONTVILLE, NJ – Things have been busy for Montville’s VFW Post 5481 this summer, according to new Post Commander Ken Hanzl, who reported on the following activities from May through July:

The post held four weekend Poppy Drives, which started in March and concluded in May. Donations to the poppy program provide compensation to the veterans who assemble the poppies, financial assistance in maintaining state and national veterans' rehabilitation and service programs, and they partially support the VFW National Home for Children, Hanzl said.

The post hosted a “Family & Friends” breakfast at the VFW post on a sunny Sunday in May. It was attended by approximately 70 people, and post members and their families plus some special guests enjoyed a full, hot breakfast.

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The post participated in the township’s youth fishing derby at Masar Park Pond by donating a fishing pole outfit. Post member Joe Coll attended and presented the prize.

Montville Post 5481increased membership by three percent and was awarded a congratulatory streamer. This achievement was attained in spite of, sadly, losing a number of respected comrades, according to Hanzl. The post achieved the increase in membership through the efforts of a rejuvenated recruitment committee team.

The post placed American flags with service markers on the township’s veterans’ graves at five cemeteries in time for Memorial Day.

“We have an ongoing joint effort with the Montville Historical Society to refurbish and replace veteran grave markers, as we identify them,” Hanzl said. “Lazar Middle School students helped out with this project.” (Read about it here.)

Memorial Day dawned bright and clear, and the post hosted one of its best ever attended commemorations, with Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill as a guest speaker and a flyover of a Beechcraft Baron twin engine high performance aircraft.

Post representatives met with Sherrill’s staff to discuss her support for the post’s veterans and coordination of publicity needs using the Congresswoman’s sources, and the Congresswoman’s Director of Veterans’ Affairs attended a post meeting to talk about services available from her office.

As part of the township’s Relay for Life charity event, the post’s color guard led the opening ceremony with the presentation of colors. In addition, the post presented a $200 donation. (Read about it here.)

The post’s honor guard conducted two wake-side ceremonies for departed comrades.

Post members participated in the opening ceremony of a Montville Township High School varsity baseball game vs. Randolph. This game was dedicated to veterans.  Donations were solicited for veterans’ causes.

“What a great night of baseball in Montville,” Mustangs Baseball tweeted.  “Came up on the short end of a well played 1-0 game, but it was great to see the Mustang Community behind us all night. Thank you to our veterans both in attendance and across the globe.”

June 14 brought Flag Day, and the post’s U.S. flag awareness program. “Fly the Flag” posters were distributed to many of the town’s service and volunteer organizations, Hanzl said. The poster included information on the post’s flag retirement effort and outdoor flag collection box location in the post’s parking lot.

“It looks like a mailbox and it’s painted red, white and blue,” Hanzl said. “You can put your tired flag in there, and we’ll retire it properly, with the dignity our flag deserves.”

Post members hosted a breakfast at a local diner for three Montville Township High School seniors who will be joining the military.

“Two will be joining the Marines and one received an appointment to the Naval Academy,” Hanzl said. “Our post presented each student with a framed certificate and $100.”

At the Patriots Pen award ceremony, post member Joe Coll presented Lazar Middle School students Salvatore Scurti and Jake DaCosta with certificates and monetary awards.

Hanzl said the post participated in Montville’s 4th of July celebration as the post’s color guard presented the colors with the Police Explorers and VFW Vice Post Commander Jeff Jones gave the opening ceremony speech.

At that celebration, a fundraiser was conducted by the post in which donations were accepted for the opportunity for one donor to be presented a specially framed U.S. flag that was parachuted onto Normandy on D-Day’s 75th Anniversary by the Veterans’ Parachute Battalion. A happy Montville resident was the winner, Hanzl said.

“United States Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 10-01 hosted a barbeque at the Lincoln Park Airport, and Gerry Gemian, a WWII veteran of the Central Pacific Theater, and Joe Coll, a Vietnam veteran, were guest speakers and related their experiences,” Hanzl said. “Our Coast Guard hosts desired that our veterans’ first-hand history be preserved.”

August and September 2019 Plans

The post is seeking businesses who would like to give the members discounts. If your business would like to offer township veterans a discount, please contact the post at vfwpost5481@gmail.com. Also, the post is asking for guest speakers for meetings. Please contact vfwpost5481@gmail.com.

The post is working on organizing an “Honor Flight” for eligible post members.

“This one-day trip to Washington, D.C. is widely acclaimed and cherished by those who attend,” Hanzl said. “We are also organizing field trips to places like the N.J. Vietnam Memorial, the Battleship New Jersey and the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum.”

The post is continuing its “Buy a Brick Program” where an engraved brick is placed on and around the wall of honor which encircles the M60 tank memorial. Each brick contains the veteran’s information. The charge of $50 just covers costs. Any veteran is eligible for a brick. Please contact Tom Mazzaccaro at tmazz2@optonline.net if you are interested in designing a brick for yourself or a loved one.

Please try to attend the post’s 9/11 commemoration. Details will follow.

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