Councilman Thos Shipley recently visited the New Jersey State Veterans Memorial Home at Menlo Park. But this wasn’t a typical visit. This one brought song to our servicemen and women and messages of thanks from the residents and school children of Roselle Park.
Besides being councilman, Thos Shipley is an international jazz vocalist, whose performed in places such as France, Singapore, Japan, Italy, Palestine and New York City. But no performance could have been more meaningful and personal as was before men and women at the New Jersey State Veterans Memorial Home.
"My father spent the last year of his life under the care of the professionals and volunteers at Perry Point Veterans nursing home in Harve de Grace Maryland,” Shipley noted. My brothers and I had planned on performing there while my father was residing at the Veteran’s home, but he had passed on before that could happen.”
Shipley continued, “The staff were wonderful and the care he and his fellow veterans received, gave them the dignity and respect that our servicemen deserve.” This performance is for him and all of the veterans who have served our country.
During his father's 20-year Army service, Thos and his brothers spent their early childhood in Japan while his dad was stationed at Camp Zama and their teenage years in Aberdeen, Maryland. In Maryland, stationed at the Aberdeen Grounds in the 327th Army Band while his mother taught in the public schools.
Shipley had time to speak with the many women and men in attendance. But it was by chance that he struck a conversation with Veteran Larry Johnson who was previously a resident of Roselle and an Abraham Clark graduate, class of 1956.
“Mr. Johnson was in the Army like my dad.” Shipley added. “What was most interesting is how much he remembered Roselle Park and the rivalry between both communities, especially the Thanksgiving Day games.” After Shipley’s performance they spoke about historic Roselle Park, the notable people and places still remembered today and most of all the significance of our communities divided by railroad tracks. “Mr. Johnson also remembered the New York City Jazz scene as his brother was also a jazz musician.”
Councilman Shipley was requested to return and perform again at New Jersey State Veterans Memorial Home and plans on doing so. “I had a great time and I could see they truly appreciated the music and letters of gratitude.”
The Councilman is continuing his “Operation: Remember Your Service” letters of gratitude campaign and encourages residents, students and organizaitons from both boroughs to participate.
Drop off Locations Are:
- 117 Chestnut Street (Dowling’s Irish Pub & Restaurant)
- 120 Chestnut Street (Joe & Jodi’s Barber Shop)
- 9 West Grant Avenue (Roselle Park Historical Society & Museum)
- 404 Chestnut Street (Roselle Park Veterans Memorial Library)
- 301 West Clay Avenue (IORIO Deli)
824 Larch Street (home of Thos Shipley and Joe DeIorio)