WEST ORANGE, NJ –West Orange resident, Vietnam veteran and community activist Al Hughes was recently recognized in a pre-game ceremony along with seven West Orange High School Hall of Fame athletes on in Suriano Stadium.

Board of Education President Laura Lab, Vice-President Mark Robertson, and board members Sandra Mordecai and Ron Charles were present to congratulate Hughes and the athletes with Principal Hayden Moore.

Hughes, currently a member of West Orange VFW Post 376, has been a West Orange resident for 28 years and served in the United States Army for 22 years, first in Vietnam and followed by overseas assignments in Germany and Hawaii.

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He is the recipient of several awards, including the Meritorious Service Award, The Army Commendation Medal, the Good Conduct Medal, Sharpshooter Badge, and many more. He was employed at the Department of Veteran’s Affairs until 1998.

Hughes stepped onto the field in Suriano Stadium with his wife Rosemary to receive his award while fellow VFW Post 376 veterans Ralph Panciello, George Zeevalk, and Al Guadagno stood by. Hughes and his fellow veterans then had the honor of the game coin toss, which went to Union City.

In addition to Hughes, seven outstanding Wall of Fame West Orange High School athletes were recognized for their contribution to the athletics program:

Tiffany Clarke, Track and Field, WOHS Class of 2002

Kurt Bircher, Hockey, WOHS Class of 2004 (Posthumous)

Mike Serino, Bowling, WOHS Class of 2005

Ellis Mensah, Track and Field, WOHS Class of 2008

Emiliano Betancour, Wrestling, WOHS Class of 2011

Lindsay Flores, Softball, WOHS Class of 2012

Lance Smith, Football, WOHS Class of 2012