Giving Back

West Orange Memorial Day Service Honors World War II Vet and More

66f6efc9e99d9be0e5bd_WP_20180528_10_18_54_Pro.jpg
Mayor Robert Parisi, right, gives Ralph Panciello a proclamation stating that Memorial Day will be forever known as Ralph Panciello Day in West Orange. Credits: Alan Grossman
78374df0ae11c81bb4bd_WP_20180528_10_23_30_Pro.jpg
Alfred L. Rosu, lieutenant colonel, USAR (Ret), conducts the oath for three new enlistees. Credits: Alan Grossman
e0c926cfd7de1dcc7950_WP_20180528_10_29_41_Pro.jpg
Wreath dedication ceremony participants include town council members, township historian Joseph Fagan, VFW and Air Force Junior ROTC cadets. Credits: Alan Grossman
ed81027b943dd3d62383_Screen_Shot_2018-05-30_at_12.43.17_AM.jpg
100-year-old World War II veteran Albert Guadagno with his son-in-law, Lyle Lauterbach.
66f6efc9e99d9be0e5bd_WP_20180528_10_18_54_Pro.jpg

WEST ORANGE, NJ –  Memorial Day will now be known as Ralph Panciello Day in West Orange, after Mayor Robert Parisi presented 90-year old Panciello with a proclamation on Monday honoring his service to the country and the township during the 2018 Memorial Day Ceremony in front of town hall.

In his tribute to Panciello, who is the long-time commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 376, Parisi acknowledged his service in the South Pacific during World War II, as well as his service to West Orange during his long tenure as its deputy mayor.

“This tradition of our annual West Orange Memorial Day event has taken place in large part because of Ralph’s commitment to always remember those who have sacrificed their lives to keep our country safe, as well as his ongoing efforts to improve the lives of our veterans,” said Parisi.

Sign Up for E-News

Following the ceremony, Panciello said he was very surprised and pleased by the proclamation naming this day for him. Many community members offered congratulations to him as he expressed his appreciation for the honor.

In his message to the crowd that gathered on an overcast day, Parisi noted that West Orange is New Jersey’s most decorated community.

“We’ve bestowed the New Jersey Distinguished Service Medal, the state’s highest honor for military service, on 360 of our deserving combat veterans,” said Parisi.

The mayor added that this was a day to honor the Americans who have lost their lives defending our nation, including the 33 Americans killed in combat zones this past year.

Parisi also noted that 156 “brave souls” who resided in West Orange were killed in action during one of America’s wars.

“We vow to never forget them,” he said. “We know what their sacrifice means to our community, our country and the world at large.”

The oldest veteran in attendance was 100-year-old Albert Guadagno, who served in the China-Burma-India Theater in World War II. During an interview prior to the services, he spoke about his travails while helping to build Ledo Road—later named the General Joseph Stillwell Road to honor the man who insisted that it be built in response to the Japanese Army’s capture of the Burma Road. That road had been the main route for Allied military supplies between India and China.

Guadagno recalled the difficult conditions he and the other men faced while building the road. Approximately 1,100 Americans died during its construction, he said.

On the other end of the age spectrum, Parisi welcome Dylan Pennell back to West Orange after graduating from the Naval Academy. He said Pennell played a major role in bringing the Air Force Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) to West Orange High School in 2014.

Pennell, who will be shipping out to Pearl Harbor in Hawaii to serve his country, said after the services that bringing the Junior ROTC to WOHS was truly a community effort.

“I was pleased to play a leadership role by getting a petition together and making a presentation to the board of education about the need for a Junior ROTC at the high school,” said Pennell. “Many others worked with me to make it happen.”

One of the Junior ROTC instructors, Retired Air Force Major Joseph Marchesini, said there are now 141 cadets at the high school.

“It’s been wonderful to see the program grow over the past four years,” Marchesini said after Monday’s service. “We started with 52 students in the first year. Now we have 141 students, most of whom are thriving in the program.”

A large group of Junior ROTC cadets were on hand at Monday’s event. Two of them, Abby Rosu and Michael Grovine, were acknowledged for getting scholarships to continue their college studies before serving their country.

Rosu was awarded a three-year Army ROTC scholarship, which is extremely selective and reserved for only top-ranked student applicants. She will be attending the College of New Jersey and will also earn a commission as Second Lieutenant in the US Army upon graduation.

Grovine, who earned an Air Force scholarship, will attend Rutgers University. Upon graduation, he will be commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the US Air Force.

The program included the posting of colors by the Air Force Junior ROTC and the West Orange Fire Department Color Guard, Jan Carden singing “The Star Spangled Banner,” “Wind Beneath My Wings” and “America the Beautiful,” an invocation by Monsignor Michael Kelly, a benediction by Rabbi Robert Tobin, of Bnai Shalom in West Orange, a rifle salute by the West Orange Police Department, and the playing of “Taps” by Stanley Lim.

West Orange township council members were joined by Joseph Fagan, township historian, as well as VFW and Air Force Junior ROTC cadets as they took part in a wreath dedication ceremony. In addition, Alfred Rosu, lieutenant colonel, USAR (Ret) conducted an oath of enlistment for three West Orange residents who want to serve their country. Sgt. Matthew Hall brought the enlistees to the ceremony on Monday, and was on hand for their oath of enlistment.

The program was presented by the West Orange VFW in cooperation with the Mayor’s Office and the West Orange High School Air Force Junior ROTC. The Memorial Day Observance team that organized the event consisted of Susan Anderson, Captain Timothy Brennan, Megan Brill, Joseph Fagan, Major Joseph Marchesini, USAF (Ret), Captain Joseph Matullo, Ralph Panciello, Shari Ann Quirk and Chief Master Sgt. Ricardo Thurston, USAF (Ret). 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

West Orange

Deegan Dental Implant Special!

June 19, 2018

WEST ORANGE, NJ - OUR NEW DENTAL IMPLANT SPECIAL OFFER WILL GIVE YOU REASON TO SMILE!

Deegan Dental is happy to announce our New Dental Implant Special Offer that will give you a reason to smile! Our New Special Offer, that expires 11/30/2018, covers a single Complete Tooth Replacement (including the Implant, Stock Abutment and E-max Crown) for only $2,200 per Implant; a Great Value ...

CycleBar Livingston Offers 4 Rides for $39

LIVINGSTON, NJ - CycleBar Livingston -- Premium Indoor Cycling -- is offering four rides for $39 for new riders only.

New customers can take advantage of this deal at CycleBar Livingston at 277 Eisenhower Parkway. Call them at 973-261-5647. Visit livingston.cyclebar.com.

Millburn's Peter Serruto Drafted by Cincinnati Reds

June 6, 2018

MILLBURN, NJ - Peter Serruto, who just completed his senior season at Millburn High School, was selected by the Cincinnati Reds in the 22d round of the Major League Baseball Amateur Draft on Wednesday.

Serruto was the 649th pick overall.

The 6-foot, 190-pound right-handed batter has been a defensive standout since he first suited up in a Millburn uniform as a freshman.

"Defensively, ...

Upcoming Events

Wed, June 20, 6:30 PM

Pleasantdale Chateau , West Orange

Taste & Toast Gala

Giving Back

Wed, June 20, 6:30 PM

Pleasantdale Chateau , West Orange

Taste & Toast Gala

Giving Back

Fri, June 22, 5:30 PM

Ginny Duenkel Pool, West Orange

West Orange Community Sports & Games Night

Michael T. McCormick, Jr. Memorial Foundation Donates New Scoreboard to the West Orange PAL Baseball Field

On Sunday, April 15, the West Orange PAL baseball teams began their opening ceremonies of the spring season with a heartfelt dedication of a new scoreboard, donated by the Michael T. McCormick, Jr. Memorial Foundation.  The foundation was created to honor the life of Michael, a lifelong West Orange resident, who tragically died in a car accident on the day after his 19th birthday, Aug.

Mt. Olive Memorial Weekend Tournament: Bringing Baseball Back to West Orange!

“I’ve got to find the right spot”

“Two out rally!”

“Protect the ball”

“You fired up? I’m fired up! I can’t hear you!”

“Breathe!” “Deep breath, reset”

“Whoa..where are you going?? You can’t move”

Just a few of the statements you may have heard this past weekend at the ...

Winners of 19th Annual Gaelen Juried Art Show & Sale Announced

June 20, 2018

WHIPPANY, NJ - Winners of the 19th annual Gaelen Juried Art Show & Sale were announced at the Opening Reception on Sunday, June 10.   The show will run through Sunday, July 29 at the Gaelen Gallery West, Aidekman Family Campus, 901 Route 10 East, Whippany.

Awards were presented at the Opening Reception for Best in Show and Best /Honorable Mention in the following categories: ...