WOODLAND PARK, NJ - On Memorial Day this year at the conclusion of the annual parade, the Borough of Woodland Park will rededicate memorials to its 14 fallen soldiers.
Over the years, trees were planted and dedicated on the grounds of Memorial School to the 14 soldiers who were killed in action from West Paterson in World War II and Vietnam.
Special Police Officer Bill Gilhooley, who works part of his day at Memorial School, and Police Sgt. Tom Bolen, initiated the project seeing the disrepair of the original monuments and conditions of the decades old trees. Some of the trees had died and been removed over time as well.
“Quite frankly, the students at Memorial School don’t even know why the school is called what it is,” said Mayor Keith Kazmark. “We wanted to restore the meaning of this, why its dedicated to Memorial School.”
Memorial School, opened in 1958, was built on the site of two farms. The name, Memorial School, was chosen by the late Alfred H. Baumann, who served as principal at the school as well as mayor for 29 years, to honor the dedicated men and women who served in our armed forces.
Over the recent school break, work began, with the Department of Public Works removing all the trees and preparing the land. All the original plaques for each solider are being refurbished or replaced.
The American Legion #238, under the direction of Erik Luker, is funding this portion of the project. Sgobba Monument in Totowa will be creating the monument. Money from the borough’s Open Space Trust Fund will cover the landscaping costs, which will be done by Spinella Landscaping.
In addition to the soldiers monument, the monument for Mayor and Principal Baumann was relocated and placed near the school’s front entrance by the flagpole with a new circular section of pavers.
The 14 fallen soldiers, from World War II and Vietnam, who are honored on the monuments are:
- Sgt. Walter (Wadeslaw) Borkowski (US Army, World War II)
- PVT Nicholas Fillipone (US Army, World War II)
- PFC Wail (“Bill”) Hromiak (USMC, World War II)
- William Kay (World War II)
- T/3 Michael Lorzorvich (US Army, World War II)
- T/3/4 Frank E. Pascale (US Army, World War II)
- Lt. Charles Tiessen (US Army, World War II)
- T/5 Donald C. Vetrone (US Army, World War II)
- Cpl. Frederick L. Wallace (US Army, World War II)
- T/4 John Zambrano (US Army, World War II)
- Joseph Zendzian (US Army, World War II)
- Lt. Anthony Borrego (US Army, Vietnam)
- Spec. Harold J. Van Winkle (US Army, Vietnam)
- PFC Anthony A. Verbickas (US Army, Vietnam)