MONTVILLE, NJ – When Montville Township VFW Post 5481 asked Rails Steakhouse in Towaco for a price list for holding their holiday luncheon at the restaurant last year, they were surprised to find out it was on the house.

This year the restaurant hosted about 50 veterans from the post and their spouses again, footing the bill once more for the luncheon on Dec. 5.

Director of Operations Mike Mulligan told the group, “We’ve been open just about four years, and instead of spending money on marketing, we give back. The community embraced us so astoundingly that that’s what we decided to do. Between starting a scholarship fund and having multiple tricky trays for needy families, we like to keep it within the community. When [party chairs] Tom Mazzaccaro and Carl DeBacco came to us last year and wanted to book the luncheon, it was again an opportunity for us to give back and honor the true heroes of this country … I think I get more out of it than you guys do. I’d just like to say thank you and I hope we can do this for many years to come.”

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Montville-based county Freeholder Tom Mastrangelo stopped by the luncheon to award the post for its volunteer hours. He said his father was a World War II veteran, in Bradley’s First Army.

“He told me he saw Europe the hard way,” Mastrangelo told the group. “What the vets do for our country, what they do for our freedom, what you mean to each of us, there aren’t enough words to say. I wanted to say enjoy the holidays, and give this recognition from the Freeholder Board.

The post was given a resolution plaque from the freeholders, honoring them for a half century of dedicated service to military members and their families. The Montville post was founded in 1970 with 34 members, and is a strong patriotic presence in Morris County and the Montville community, Mastrangelo read from the resolution.

“Members of Post 5481 conduct weekly visits to the Lyons Veterans Administration Hospital in support of those who have served and are confined to extended health care, and they provide entertainment and food to the patients to brighten their days and give assurances that someone still cares,” Mastrangelo read from the resolution. “The post recently completed 3,644 hours and 22 years of volunteer service, largely due to former Commander Frank Warholic, who recently received a Certificate of Appreciation from Lyons Hospital for this service.”

Mastrangelo said he visits all the posts in the county but Montville’s is “really at the top.”

“We were very appreciative that Post 5481 was invited to Rails in Towaco,” former post commander Frank Warholic told TAPinto Montville. “It was a marvelous time and there were many people there who I haven’t seen in many years celebrating with us. We’d like to thank [principal] Jim Stathis and Mike Mulligan for their hospitality and for making it a very happy time for all the veterans there, and we appreciate the kind things they said about us.”

Joe Bonadeo said he had a great time at the luncheon and “reconnected with old friends while eating a fine lunch.”