MOUNTAINSIDE, NJ - Plans to construct a lasting tribute to Mountainside’s Veterans are materializing on Constitution Plaza in the Borough. If all goes well, Bill Tomco, WWII Vet and Purple Heart recipient, will get his wish, and opening ceremonies will commence this Veteran’s Day, November 11 at the new Mountainside Veterans Memorial Park.
Plans to enlarge and improve upon the park began as a grassroots effort at VFW Post 10136 led by Post Commander Timothy McLaughlin. Colonel McLaughlin, an Iraq War Vet and currently active in the NJ Army National Guard, said the project was very much a “group effort.”
Citing safety and ease of access for Veterans, Colonel McLaughlin said, “A mutual decision was made to move it from its current location on the slope of Constitution Plaza to the present location adjacent to the library parking lot and next to the Levi Cory house.”
After drawing up the initial concept plans, the VFW enlisted the help of PS&S, a design and engineering firm in Warren, NJ to finalize the rendering, and presented it to the Mayor and Council, who supported it 100 percent.
Brick pavers, personalized to honor a former or current Veteran, or simply to express personal support for all Veterans are currently being sold to help fund the project, but more than $75,000 is still needed before the plaza can be completed.
According to Colonel McLaughlin, the project design began in July of 2014. Since that time, a core group of local Veterans, residents, and businesses have moved the project forward, contributing their time, talent, supplies, as well as monetary contributions, and broke ground this past June.
The VFW wishes to personally thank George Vetter Landscaping, Walter Heckel Excavating, Weldon Concrete, Boychuck Stone, Harol Landscaping and Construction, Patrick Monaghan Inc. General Contractors, PS&S, Bartell’s Farm and Garden Supply, and Mosaico Restaurant. The VFW is also very much appreciative of the substantial grant monies received from the Watts Foundation and The Home Depot.
Colonel McLaughlin noted that perpetual care on the property will also be required, and funds will also be used to purchase plaques inscribed with the names of Mountainside Veterans as well as a future Purple Heart monument honoring Purple Heart recipients in Mountainside.
Monetary contributions in any amount would be greatly appreciated and can be mailed to Mountainside VFW Post 10136, PO Box 1163, Mountainside, NJ 07092, or visit the recently established “Go Fund Me” account entitled "Mountainside Veterans Memorial Park.” To order personalized brick pavers, visit www.polarengraving.com/VFW10136.
New volunteers are always welcome to assist with the project. Interested community members can email Colonel McLaughlin at firstname.lastname@example.org.