Government

Roxbury Waives 20-Year Residency Rule, Will Erect Street Sign for Slain Vietnam Soldier

Members of Roxbury VFW Post 2833 urge council to honor slain Vietnam War vet with street sign
Roxbury VFW Post 2833 members during Tuesday Roxbury council meeting flag salute
James Ohlinger of Succasunna Credits: Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund
Letter from VFW read by Post 2833 Commander John Lehnert at Roxbury council meeting

ROXBURY, NJ – A Roxbury man who died in the Vietnam War will be honored with a small street sign despite the fact that he didn’t live in town long enough to meet a township policy regarding the so-called “street blades.”

The Roxbury Mayor and Council on Tuesday voted unanimously in favor of installing a street blade on Thor Drive in Succasunna to honor deceased soldier James Ohlinger, who lived on the road before being killed in action Nov. 19, 1966 at 21 years old.

Thor Drive resident Patrick White, who knew Ohlinger, first asked for the street blade in 2016. He said he was told the soldier did not meet the criteria in the township’s street blade policy, specifically that a recipient of a street blade must live in Roxbury for at least 20 years.

Sign Up for E-News

White attended an October council meeting and again pressed for the street blade. Town officials said they would review the policy, but no promise was made.

The matter turned into a bit of a dustup at the Nov. 14 council meeting when Roxbury Councilman Jim Rilee suggested “disgusting politics” in the form of some behind-the-scenes activity relating to the street blade issue was taking place. Feeling their input was needed, members of Roxbury Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2833 attended Tuesday’s council meeting prepared to urge the council to approve of the sign honoring Ohlinger.

Before they did, Roxbury Councilman Bob DeFillippo addressed the matter and made a motion to waive the residency requirement “for this one case.” His motion was unanimously approved by the council.

“There’s been a lot of discussion since our last meeting about designating a street blade or a sign to honor Mr. James Ohlinger,” DeFillippo said. “We’ve been told Mr. Ohlinger is one of the first, or perhaps the first, person who was killed from Roxbury in Vietnam. To be clear, all service members deserve our respect and gratitude. And those who made the ultimate sacrifice must be honored for their sacrifice and the sacrifices made by their families and their loved ones.”

Citing the 20-year residency requirement for a street blade, DeFillippo told the audience that the policy “was there for a reason” and was crafted after council consideration and input from the community.

“While I wasn’t part of the council at the time, it seems clear it was meant to be an honor that goes to long-time residents,” DeFillippo said. “To disregard the requirement potentially disrespects those service members who have already been granted a street blade because they met all the criteria. We should be considerate of their families and their loved ones.”

However, the councilman said he favored granting Ohlinger the sign “given the extraordinary circumstances of this case: The fact that Mr. Ohlinger may have been the first or among the first to give his life in Vietnam.”

Roxbury Township Manager John Shepherd said he will continue to discuss the street blade policy with veterans and others to see if it warrants a revision. Roxbury Councilman Dan Kline has proposed adding a clause to the policy that waives the 20-year residency requirement for service members killed in action.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Roxbury

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_cebf46e77df90fb824fb_6253c5241f790a2b12d1_loretta_hagen-2

Tue, December 12, 12:00 PM

Investors Bank Theater, Succasunna

Loretta Hagen Headlines at Songwriter Series

Arts & Entertainment

Carousel_image_db8f18ddcc314672a2b2_event_ad_mens_night

Thu, December 14, 5:00 PM

W. Kodak Jewelers, Succasunna

W. Kodak Jewelers - Men's Night Event

Arts & Entertainment Business & Finance Food & Drink

Carousel_image_0afc60f041c6a9640e10_9b902f56291b109832c0_taps

Sat, December 16, 11:00 AM

First Presbyterian Church, Succasunna

Roxbury Wreaths Across America

Giving Back

Carousel_image_ece096244836338f0e6f_heated_xchange_december

Fri, December 22, 9:00 PM

Circle Bowl & Entertainment, Ledgewood

HeatedXchange

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink

Columns

Family Health

Be Aware of Pancreatic Cancer’s Warning Signs

November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month, and nationally renowned gastrointestinal (GI) cancer physician-scientist Angela Alistar, MD thinks it is critical that everyone learn how to recognize the warning signs of this aggressive cancer. Dr. Alistar is medical director of GI medical oncology at the Carol G. Simon Cancer Center of Morristown Medical Center, Atlantic Health ...

AtlantiCast: Episode 008

On this week’s AtlantiCast, you’ll learn about a groundbreaking new clinical trial in the fight against pancreatic cancer, meet an award-winning child neurologist at Goryeb Children’s Hospital and hear about the new Scoliosis and Spinal Deformity Center at Atlantic Orthopedic Institute – plus stay tuned at the end to see our debut episode of the AtlantiCast Medical ...

Sponsors of Roxbury's Best Journalism

Getting it Right From the Start; Roxbury Realtor Bob Idakaar

ROXBURY, NJ – Twenty years ago this month, Bob Idakaar experienced an unprofessional real estate agent. That’s when he decided to be a good one.

Idakaar, a lifelong Succasunna resident and TAPinto Roxbury sponsor, bought his fifth home in July 1997. A big event, one that could have been joyous, ended up being stressful and unenjoyable.

“I had a bad experience,” he ...

Letters to TAPinto Roxbury

Press Releases

Atlantic Health System Named a Best Workplace for Diversity and Best Workplace for Parents by Great Place to Work® and Fortune

December 6, 2017

TAPinto.net sponsor Atlantic Health System, an integrated health care delivery system, today announced its national recognition by Great Place to Work® and Fortune in being named to their 2017 Best Workplaces for Parents and 2017 Best Workplaces for Diversity lists. 

This is the second year in a row that the organization’s equitable, family-friendly work environments have earned ...

The Goddard School of Randolph Raises $2,250 in Support of Hurricane Maria Disaster Relief

RANDOLPH, NJ - The Goddard School of Randolph, a TAPinto Roxbury sponsor, recently held an Art Gala in support of the disaster relief efforts in Puerto Rico.  The school and it’s families were touched by the recent events in Houston, Las Vegas and Puerto Rico and wanted to give back as a school community.  One of the school’s teachers, Ms. Talisa, and her family were ...