Meet the Leaders of Montville Township

Spotlight: Frank Warholic, Commander of the Montville VFW Post 5481

0b066a3c48ae305560e8_image.jpg
Frank Warholic, retiring VFW Post 5481 commander, proudly stands in front of the M60 Vietnam era army tank and memorial wall that honors township residents who served their country. An expansion of the area is in progress. Credits: Gail Bottone
0b066a3c48ae305560e8_image.jpg
​MONTVILLE, NJ - “This story is not only about me but about the wonderful people of Montville,” said the humble but outspoken Frank Warholic who is retiring this month as commander of Montville’s VFW Post 5481. After serving as commander for 20 years collectively, Warholic is retiring, and Charles Ferry will be assuming the command.
As one of the post’s founders since 1970, Warholic has spent much of his life serving veterans and the community. He remembers the house and land that is now the home of Post 5481 as the Sisco dairy farm. “Montville was much different back then,” said Warholic. The post leases the property from the township and has remodeled the upstairs and downstairs. Warholic said that Peter King, who had been commander at the time, was influential in negotiating the lease agreement.
As he continued to tell his story he said, “I am not good at remembering exact dates, so dates may be approximate.” He also said, “I hope I will not offend anyone if I forget to mention them.”
 
The story begins in Garfield, NJ on November 1, 1930 when Frank Warholic was born. Eventually his family moved to Passaic, and he attended Passaic High School and played basketball for the Passaic Boys’ Club and the Holy Rosary Society.
 
One day he spotted a pretty girl getting out of a car and found out that she was a member of the Passaic Boys' Club dramatics club. So of course, he joined just to get a date. They went to the Capitol Theatre in Passaic, and the rest is history.
 

At 19, Warholic was drafted into the army and before he left for Camp Kilmore in NJ for training, he asked this girl to marry him as soon as he got back. Needless to say, this pretty girl is Mary Ellen his wife of 60 years. Warholic calls her “my tower of strength. Everything I did she was a part of it.”
 
He was drafted in 1951 during the Korean War, but he was sent to Erlangen, Germany and served there from 1951 to 1953. He was in the 7th Army 30th field artillery battalion B battery where he was made corporal. He went for leadership training, but President Harry S. Truman, saying there was not enough money, cut back and Warholic never got his stripes.
 
Back in the states, he took advantage of the GI bill and got his bachelor’s degree and master’s degree from Seton Hall. He majored in education and minored in history. He also got his principal and driver education certificates. His post graduate work was done through Fairfield University in Secaucus through extension courses. He taught physical education for 39 years in the city of Passaic and also taught driver education. He coached basketball and baseball but was not crazy about it especially since it only paid $200 a season. In the 1970’s, he was named teacher of the year by the state of NJ and the Passaic Board of Education.
 
In 1960 Frank and Mary Ellen moved to Montville because they couldn’t afford the $22,000 to buy a house in Passaic. They purchased a house and property on Twaits Road in Towaco for $12,000 with a mortgage payment of $58 a month. They eventually had to knock the house down and rebuild over time. He remembers having to work multiple jobs, along with his wife working as a nurse’s aide at Passaic General Hospital, just to pay the bills. He said, “Montville was very rural then and not too many people lived here.” Warholic was a part time mailman for 25 years and remembers when the township was so small that there was only one mailman for the entire area of Towaco.
 
He also drove a truck for Ballantine beer getting the job not even knowing how to handle the truck’s shift. He remembers these early years as “nothing but work.” While laughing, he also remembers a car that they owned that did not go in reverse. If they missed a turn, they literally had to push the car backward so that they could drive again. He said, “Life was a lot of hard work, but we always paid our mortgage first and did whatever we could afford to do with the rest. Thank God for chop meat at 19 cents a pound.” He and his wife even collected old newspapers for Allied Paper getting 75 cents a pound. The word he said that describes his life is “sacrifice.”
 
The Warholics had two daughters Mary Catherine and Susan. Mary Catherine now lives with her husband in the southern part of the United States, and with much sadness, Warholic spoke about his daughter Susan, who died about five years ago of pancreatic cancer. He said that the people of Montville were tremendous in their financial and moral support. He said, “I cannot say enough about the people of Montville. It was a very hard time for us. Montville is the best place to live. Brick and stone may make up the buildings, but the people make the town.”
 
Warholic has another member of his family, Cubby, a chow flatback retriever, that he wanted mentioned in this article. In a local newspaper, he saw a dog that nobody wanted. He went to see him, took one look, took him home, and has loved him ever since.
 
He fondly recalls becoming the recreation director for Montville. He said, “There were only a few fields back then, and people allowed us to play on their land.” Insurance for registration was only a dollar a person. He remembers that for track meets they did not even have money for ribbons or certificates. They had to be resourceful and use whatever they could find. He also was a leader in youth programs such as Babe Ruth Baseball leagues, ski programs, and bicycle safety programs.
 
VFW Post 5481 began in 1970 with 34 members and now has about 130. When asked about his position as commander, he said, “It’s a lot of work, but there are a lot of good people working at the post making the job easier.” Some veterans mentioned in the interview were Edmond and Herman Gonski, Joe Coll, Joseph Quade, Arthur Graf, Ralph Amato, Julian Handler, Thomas Infusino, Carl DeBacco, Edwin Beil, Hjalmar Johansson, Ralph Amato, and Walter Bringsauf.
 
Warholic stated that Joseph Quade is one of the oldest members who served in WWII, and Thomas Infusino is one of the youngest men who recently served in Afghanistan. “Carl DeBacco is the best quartermaster. Without his great record keeping, we would not have a post,” said Warholic. Joseph Quade was instrumental in getting the tank from Vietnam and the memorial wall projects completed. Edwin Beil also was instrumental in getting the memorial wall in place. Hjalmar Johansson was a prisoner of war in WWII, and in 2005, he and Joseph Quade, Walter Bringsauf, and Frank Warholic were chosen by the St. Francis Residential Community and the local AARP Chapter as “Morris County Treasures” for their volunteer work. Arthur Graf coordinates getting flags put on graves in five cemeteries three days before Memorial Day, and Ralph Amato is very involved with the VFW’s involvement with the Boy Scouts. Herman Gonski was in charge of the Voice of Democracy program, and Joe Coll continues in his position. All these men and many more help Post 5481 stay active. Warholic is grateful for all their hard work and dedication.
 
He is also very proud that for 27 years the VFW, along with their women’s auxiliary, went every Monday night to the Lyons Veterans Affairs Hospital to dance and provide entertainment for the patients along with providing refreshments. Before every dance, they would sing the National Anthem and say the Pledge of Allegiance. The women involved in this were Rose Verdie, Georgette Durant, Julie Marcello, Anna DeBallonia, and Mary Ellen Warholic. Unfortunately, about six years ago, the women’s auxiliary ended due to deaths and illness of participants.
 
Warholic had many stories about selling poppies in the month of May. Fundraising is a major way that the VFW supports itself, and selling poppies is one of the biggest events. “One day a little girl wearing a pretty pink dress and her mother came to Quick Chek as I was selling poppies. The little girl pulled out a bag of pennies that she had been collecting for the soldiers. I did not want to take the money from the little girl, but she and her mother insisted. So with great joy, she took her pennies and put them in the container. It was so touching,” stated Warholic. Sometimes the post has earned up to $1,000 selling poppies. These proceeds are used to aid hospitalized veterans.
 
Warholic coordinates the Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and 9-11 Remembrance Day services for the community and coordinates the township’s recognition program of residents who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is involved in providing military funeral services for veterans and helps place flags on the graves of deceased veterans. He also spearheaded the drive to put America’s most decorated soldier Audie Murphy on a postage stamp, and he obtained over 6,000 signatures to successfully have a postage stamp issued to honor America’s War Dogs.
 
He has been instrumental in offering many school programs such as visiting the seven Montville Township public schools on Veterans Day, high school National VFW Voice of Democracy contest, Lazar Middle School National VFW essay contest, American flag sales, and recognition of township’s Eagle Scouts. Warholic said that Montville even had a winner in the Voice of Democracy contest. Laura Agostin, a Montville student, won this national essay competition.
 
He was selected as VFW All State Commander, VFW Volunteer of the Year, Mr. VFW Volunteer, and received the Nichols VFW Award. In 2006, he was the recipient of the Montville Township Chamber of Commerce Silver Service Award and was honored twice with the Meritorious Hospital Service Awards by the American Legion.
 
Warholic has been involved in additional community projects such as the Vial of Life Senior Citizen program, a program that recognizes township residents and businesses that fly the flag daily, and the adopt a road cleanup program.
 
The post’s latest project is creating a pathway of bricks around the memorial wall so that other people who missed having their names on the initial wall can be memorialized at Veterans’ Plaza, now called Community Park. Warholic said, “In my opinion, the township has built the finest complex in the area. The township has done wonders for the post, and they continue to do so.”
 
He remembers the “big day” when the M60 Vietnam era army tank made its way down Changebridge Road to its place now in Community Park and the memorial. It took two days to get the tank from Fort Dix to Montville because it weighs 60 tons and bridges had to be closed. The tank did work, but the engine had to be removed for safety reasons.
 
Stealing a question from a Michael K’s television program called “Center Stage” this writer just had to ask Frank, “If you were in a fox hole, who would be the person you would want to be there with you?” Without any hesitation, Frank said, “Jesus and my best friend. No matter who it is, you take care of him, and he takes care of you.” And this is who Frank Warholic is, a caring and hardworking man.
 
This is only a brief description of a man who has worked hard to serve his family, community, and country. Congratulations to Frank Warholic!

 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Montville

Upcoming Events

Tue, May 22, 10:00 AM

Montville Township Public Library, Montville

Storytime

Education

Carousel_image_43c3e4bb275c7bec9364_a_tech_1

Thu, May 24, 6:30 PM

Montville Township Public Library, Montville

Tech Class: Online Product Research

Education

Carousel_image_f20d0676e75db4ff7bd4_a_montville_township_symbol_-_brass

Thu, May 24, 7:30 PM

Montville Township Municipal Building, Montville

Planning Board Meeting

Government

Carousel_image_593d3996a52e793d3917_scott_kelly

Fri, May 25, 6:15 AM

TD Bank Ballpark, Bridgewater

Last Day to buy Baseball Fundraiser Tix

Education Giving Back Sports

Carousel_image_3f9e1d46bda413aee0fe_pyramid_mountain_sign_watermark

Sun, May 27, 2:00 PM

Pyramid Mountain, Montville Township

Woodland Tree Walk: Moderate

Health & Wellness

JCP&L to Attend Montville Township Committee Meeting

May 21, 2018

MONTVILLE, NJ – Montville Township administration announced that a representative from JCP&L will attend the Tuesday, May 22 Montville Township Committee meeting to discuss the company’s response to the recent storm events as well as answer questions from the public.  The meeting will take place at Montville Township Town Hall, 195 Changebridge Road, Montville, at ...

Montville Police Touch-A-Truck Event Drives it Home

May 18, 2018

MONTVILLE, NJ – The Montville Township Police Department sponsored the Touch-A-Truck event on Sunday, May 6, at which dozens of township and commercial vehicles parked at the high school, allowing kids to see the vehicles, talk to the owners, and meet emergency personnel from across the township.

“We wanted to put a face to the first responders the kids may encounter in an ...

Cedar Hill 5th Grader Gets Pied for a Purpose

May 20, 2018

MONTVILLE, NJ – Joe Signorella, a fifth grader at Cedar Hill Elementary School in Towaco, wanted to come up with a great idea for his Treps marketplace booth. Treps is an afterschool program that teaches the students how to run a business: advertising, pricing, financing. But first you have to come up with your product or service.

Joe had some ideas, like selling soccer balls since he ...

10-Year Old Boy Battling Cancer Receives Generous Donation From Randolph Hockey Family

May 20, 2018

RANDOLPH, NJ- While the inter-town hockey battles on the ice between Randolph and Roxbury are fierce at every age level, when it comes to real life battles off the ice there is no hesitation to offer help to their neighbor.

Such is the case with a recent gesture of unity and support from the Randolph Varsity hockey team, when they came together to deliver good wishes and ...

Tour of Somerville Weekend: Quarter-Mile Sprints Add High-Speed Dynamic

May 22, 2018

SOMERVILLE, NJ  - The grand daddy of ‘em  all, the 75-year-old Tour of Somerville 50-mile bicycle race, anchors a weekend of world class cycling in Bound Brook and downtown Somerville May 24-28, with a new event added Sunday night to draw more spectators downtown.

Spectators this year will see an additional day of racing beginning with the Bound Brook Criterium on ...

Join the Fight, Morris: Water + 7 Days = Mosquitoes

May 22, 2018

MORRIS COUNTY, NJ - With the sun finally expected to show itself starting tomorrow and over the Memorial Day weekend, Morris County residents can reduce the number of all mosquitoes, including the aggressive Asian Tiger variety, in their own backyards by taking action now.

The ankle-attacking, aggressive Asian Tiger variety transmits viral disease and bites all day long, unlike many other ...

Columns

OPEN HOUSES this weekend 5/19-5/20 2018

The following homes have OPEN HOUSES presented by RE/MAX Neighborhood Properties this weekend.

SATURDAY, MAY 19, 2018:

  From 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.

  44 Union Street, C0008, Montclair

  Click HERE to see Full Listing.

  

SUNDAY, MAY 20, 2018:

  From 1 - 4 p.m.

  9 Condit Road, Mountain Lakes

   Click HERE to see Full ...

Open Houses This Weekend 5/12-5/13 2018

The following homes have Open Houses presented by RE/MAX Neighborhood Properties this weekend.

SATURDAY, MAY 12, 2018:

  From 1 - 4 p.m.

  34 Brittany Road, Montville.

  Click HERE to see the full listing.

 

  From 1 - 3 p.m.

  15 Linda Court, Montville.

  Click HERE to see the full listing.

 

  From 2 - 4 p.m.

  7 ...

SURVIVING A STROKE: Quick Medical Response Gives Mom Her Life Back

Carotid artery dissection. It’s one of the most common causes of stroke in younger adults.

And while you might not associate the word “stroke” with younger patients, the condition – if not treated immediately – could lead to paralysis and even death.

Lindsey Singh can attest to the importance of immediacy. The 31-year-old mother of two from Flanders experienced ...

Century 21 Open Houses this Weekend

MONTVILLE, NJ - Following are Century 21 Open Houses for this weekend:

Saturday, May 12 from 1 - 4 p.m.

Brownstones at Fairfield, Stonybrook Circle (Using FGPS - Enter 66 Two Bridges Road)

Sunday, May 13 from 1 - 3 p.m.

Brownstones at Fairfield, Stonybrook Circle (Using FGPS - Enter 66 Two Bridges Road)
18 Renshaw Drive, Montville 

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast: Episode 15

On this week’s AtlantiCast, learn some important tips for controlling and avoiding diabetes from an Atlantic Health System expert, see how Atlantic Health is advancing cutting-edge research, hear what’s being done to keep health care environmentally friendly and much more!

 

'Turning Off the Morning News' brings comic twist

‘Turning Off the Morning News’ tackles today’s issues with a comic twist

By Liz Keill

PRINCETON, N J – Despite the late night comics, no one quite captures the insanity of the political/social status world like Christopher Durang.

His latest play, “Turning off the Morning News” hit the ground running.  John Pankow as Jimmy addresses the audience, ...

'To Kill a Mockingbird' Sustains Timeless Appeal

SUMMIT, NJ – The Summit Playhouse provides a stellar production of a much loved classic, “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

The Harper Lee novel, later a Gregory Peck film and now a stage production, retains all the warmth, intensity and integrity that made it such an appealing hit in the 1960s. And there will be a new production on Broadway in December with a script by Aaron Sorkin ...

Pet Corner