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The Veterans Monument on Monmouth Street is the setting for Red Bank’s annual Memorial Day observance, Monday morning at 11 a.m.

Memorial Day weekend represents the start of the summertime season and, for many longtime residents of our coastal communities, a time to readjust those daily routines and recalculate those normal routes in anticipation of the visiting throngs.

It’s also, of course, a time to remember those who gave their lives in service to our nation, and wherever you happen to make your home here on the Greater Red Bank Green, Monday presents a chance to join the people of your community in honoring their sacrifice. Following is a roundup of Memorial Day observances scheduled for May 29, with rainy-day alternate arrangements listed where available.

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Red Bank Police Chief Darren McConnell holds the Bible as his son, Darren M. McConnell, swears an oath of duty on his promotion to probationary patrolman Wednesday. Also elevated to the position was Michael Baron, at right.

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“Medicated” Pete McHeffey is one of the Downtown All-Stars of Red Bank teaming up to raise funds for veterans in a special Wednesday evening event on Front Street.

They’re called the Downtown All-Stars of Red Bank LLC — “a collective of local musicians and performing artists bound together to raise both funds and awareness.” You know them as the folks who entertain regularly at venues that range from your favorite neighborhood watering hole to the summertime sidewalks of Street Life, and in some instances they’re “the people that you meet when you’re walkin’ down the street.”

But every so often these artists convene like some jukebox Justice League, to address a cause dear to their hearts and musician’s souls — and this Wednesday evening, the occasion is a concert and CD release party for those who’ve served in the United States military.

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cba-sadd-food-drive-2016Students from Christian Brothers Academy (Lincroft) and Trinity Hall (Tinton Falls) teamed up to prepare and serve dinner to more than 240 attendees last Tuesday, raising over $7,500 in the process. 

Press release from Christian Brothers Academy

On December 6, the Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) chapters of Christian Brothers Academy and Tinton Falls-based Trinity Hall teamed up once again for their 10th annual “Dinner for the Troops.”

Convening in the CBA cafeteria, students handled all the preparations and cooking for 240 guests, while raising over $7,500 in the process. All funds raised will go towards supporting servicemen and servicewomen stationed overseas. The evening also featured guest speaker Sgt. Melissa Leist, a veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom, who shared her thoughts on military service.

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knollwood-lead-uKnollwood School students learned about leadership and the sacrifices made by U.S. veterans at the Lead U assembly featuring (left to right) Bill Gaskins, JD Wilson, and Dan Effenberger.

Press release from Fair Haven School District

Recently, grade 4-8 students at Knollwood School in Fair Haven got a first-person perspective on life as a member of the U.S. armed forces, during a “Lead U” assembly in the school auditorium.

Created earlier this year by JD Wilson — an Air Force veteran and former classroom teacher — the “Lead U” program is designed to empower students to embrace their leadership potential. The assembly at Knollwood featured Wilson and fellow Air Force veteran Bill Gaskins, as well as Lead U co- founder Dan Effenberger. Held a few days in advance of the Veteran’s Day holiday, the presentation focused on qualities of leadership, respect for veterans, and the many sacrifices associated with deployment.

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vets day 2015 111115 1Servicemen and women will be among the local resident who gather at the monument to war veterans at Monmouth Street and Drummond Place in Red Bank for a Veterans Day commemoration Friday. Click “read more” for town-by-town events on the Green. (Click photos to enlarge)


flagswestminsterThe annual Field of Flags tribute returns to the Westminster Presbyterian Church beginning this Saturday, October 15.

Press release from Westminster Presbyterian Church

For the fifth year, the annual Field of Flags memorial tribute will take root once again at Westminster Presbyterian Church (WPC) on Saturday, October 15.  The moving tribute to honor the fallen heroes of Iraq and Afghanistan will return to the Great Lawn at WPC on Tindall Road in Middletown beginning at 9 a.m., when  members of the congregation and the community will gather to place 6,860 flags (compared to 6,841 placed in 2015) to honor every military person who has sacrificed their life in those conflicts.

Area residents, scout groups, and civic organizations are all encouraged to stop by between 9:00 and noon, and set down a flag in memory of a family member or friend who has lost their life in service to the country. The month-long tribute will remain on display and be disassembled after Veteran’s Day, on Saturday, November 19.

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ruffini-boat-100616-7Joe Ruffini in the salon of the Naval War College, where a photo of onetime visitor John F. Kennedy hangs. The”admiral’s barge,” below, will be among the wooden boats on display at the Monmouth Boat Club Saturday. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)


ruffini-boat-100616-2A year later, Joe Ruffini is still in the “pinch me” phase, not quite able to believe his good luck.

After a brief online bidding war, the Red Bank roofer ended up owning a well-maintained, 50-foot wooden yacht, built for Navy admirals, that has hosted at least two American presidents.

On Saturday, the public will get a chance to step aboard, when Ruffini’s prize goes on display as part of a wooden and classic boat show in Red Bank.

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jazz-ambassadors-us-armyThe US Army Field Band’s “Jazz Ambassadors” unit deploys to the stage of the Count Basie Theatre for a free concert next Wednesday.

In its assembled glory, it’s a formidable force — and its many crack commando units and surgical-strike teams allow it to perform missions that range from a Dixieland septet and harp-flute duo to a Son Tropical big band.

When the uniformed members of the Jazz Ambassadors of the US Army Field Band take the Basie stage next Wednesday, they’ll be carrying on a tradition that’s seen various iterations of the USAFB treat the Red Bank audience to a free display by the most formidable musical force in the free world.

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stewart-goodyearPianist Stewart Goodyear helps usher in a new season of New Jersey Symphony concerts at the Count Basie Saturday evening. 

Continuing a decades-long and beautiful relationship with the Count Basie Theatre, the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra returns to Red Bank Saturday night for the first in a new season of concerts — and to sound the keynote in the company of a performer who’s been branded a “phenomenon” by music critics and fans alike.

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joe-mcgovern-familyKnollwood School graduate Joseph McGovern Jr.,USMC is pictured with his parents Joseph Sr. and Theresa, after the ceremonial unveiling of his photo on the school’s “Wall of Honor.”

Press release from Fair Haven School District

joe_mcgovernA ceremony was held on September 26 to honor Joseph (Joe) McGovern Jr., who graduated eighth grade at Knollwood School in Fair Haven in 2012. Joe’s photo has been added to the school’s “Wall of Honor” display featuring graduates who are proudly serving their country in the armed forces.

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rumson memorial 052614 2Rumson, above, and Red Bank, below, are among the towns on the Green with traditional Memorial Day events scheduled for Monday. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

[UPDATE: With possibly heave rain forecast for Memorial Day, several towns have changed their Memorial Day plans. Scroll down to see which ones.


rb memorial 1 052614Memorial Day Commemoration, Monday, 11 a.m., Veterans’ Monument, 51 Monmouth Street, corner of Drummond Place. The featured speaker is U.S. Navy Lieutenant Sean Geary, Command Judge Advocate for Naval Weapons Station Earle and Naval Support Activity Lakehurst.

The event follows a 10 a.m. ceremony hosted by the volunteer fire and first aid squads at borough hall, 90 Monmouth Street.

[Update: This event has been relocated to the Elks Lodge #233, at 40 West Front Street.  Same time and lineup.]


Fair Haven’’s Memorial Day Parade will take place on Monday at 9 a.m., beginning at Knollwood School, up Hance Road to River Road, and ending at Memorial Park, River Road.

A ceremony featuring guest speakers and musical selections is to follow.

[UPDATE: The parade has been canceled, and the Memorial Day observances will now take place at the Knollwood School’s all-purpose room at 9 a.m.]

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StockingStuffingOfficialForty members of the National Spanish Honor Society at Red Bank Regional High School spent their afternoon stuffing stockings filled with sweet treats for American troops stationed in the Middle East. Accompanying the stockings will be home-made cards by the students expressing their sentiments to the soldiers. “It is so difficult for our troops to spend their holiday away from family and loved ones,” explained Society Advisor Lisa Boyle, who was inspired to put together the project when she recently met the girlfriend of a soldier in the 32nd Infantry, currently stationed in Afghanistan. “The students wanted to send them a special treat so they know we are thinking of them and ever appreciative of their sacrifice for us at home.” 


knollwoodFrom left, Joe Perrotto and Denise, Stefani, and Charlie Sciametta at the ceremony marking the unveiling of Anthony Sciametta’s photo (top center) on the Knollwood School “Wall of Honor.”

Press release from Fair Haven School District

Anthony Sciametta, a 2011 graduate of Knollwood School in Fair Haven, has joined the special “ranks” of those commemorated with a photo on the “Wall of Honor.”

Commissioned and designed in 2011 to honor graduates serving their country in the armed forces, the “Wall of Honor” is featured in a main hallway at Knollwood School. Anthony’s photo  was unveiled at a ceremony held on the afternoon of December 16.

A 2015 graduate of Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School, where he ran four seasons of Cross Country track and was named Captain of the team as a senior, Anthony received the “U.S. Army Top Future Soldier Award” as Central Jersey’s most outstanding recruit. Anthony enlisted in the Infantry Division of the U.S. Army in 2015 during his senior year at RFH, and graduated from Basic Training at Fort Benning, GA on December 11, in the presence of his parents Denise and Charlie and his twin sister Stefani. He was assigned to the 1st Brigade Combat Team, First Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, at Fort Drum, NY and traveled there immediately after his graduation.

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vets day 2015 111115 1williams honor 111115Local veterans saluted as the Red Bank Charter School choir sang ‘The Star-Spangled’ at a Veterans Day commemoration in downtown Red Bank Wednesday. Mayor Red Bank Menna told a small crowd gathered at the Veterans Monument at Monmouth Street and Drummond Place that the annual event honored “the unstinting service and selfless loyalty” given by generations of men and women who have served in the military.

At right, the duo known as Williams Honor sang an original song, and below, charter school eighth-grader Jonathan Rivera played bagpipes to open and close the ceremony. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

jonathan rivera 111115 1


vets-111110fh 2 111112The monument to war veterans at Monmouth Street and Drummond Place in Red Bank, above, and Memorial Park in Fair Haven, at right, are once again host sites for  Veterans Day commemorations Wednesday.

Click “read more” for town-by-town events on the Green. (Click photos to enlarge)


ft hancock 4 070113The first of four  public meetings on the preservation and repurposing of Fort Hancock at Sandy Hook, including the bayside Officers’ Row, above, will be held Friday in Lincroft.

ft hancock 1 070113For more than 70 years, it stood at the ready, protecting lower New York Harbor and the northern Jersey Shore from invasion by sea. Between its founding in 1898 and its decommissioning in 1974, the United States Army base at Fort Hancock was a center of activity at the northern tip of Sandy Hook — and today its landmark buildings await decisions on their preservation and ultimate repurposing.

This Friday, June 26, members of the public are welcome to attend the first in a series of four meetings of the Fort Hancock 21st Century Federal Advisory Committee, hosted inside the Visitors Center at Thompson Park, Newman Springs Road in Lincroft. Committee members will be joined by representatives of Gateway National Recreation Area, the federal Landmark District that includes the entire Sandy Hook peninsula. Scheduled to commence at 9 am, the meeting will include a regularly scheduled public comment period that begins at 11:30.

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rb memorial 052614 5Red Bank, above, and Fair Haven, below, return with traditional Memorial Day events Monday. (Click to enlarge)


Memorial Day Commemoration, Monday, 11 a.m., Veterans’ Monument, 51 Monmouth Street, corner of Drummond Place. The event follows a 10 a.m. ceremony hosted by the volunteer fire and first aid squads at borough hall, 90 Monmouth Street.


Fair Haven’’s Memorial Day Parade will take place on Monday at 9 a.m., beginning at Knollwood School, on Hance Road, and ending at Memorial Park, River Road.

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zilinskiPress release from Middletown Reformed Church

For the members of Middletown Reformed Church, it still seems like yesterday when the shocking news started to hit the tight-knit community, shaking it to the core. Though ten years has passed, the impact of Lieutenant Dennis W. Zilinski’s death has not diminished. A beloved member of the congregation and youth group at the church, the intense pain of Dennis’ passing in 2005 is still so fresh to many, it seems.

While the news of his death was devastating to his family, friends, and the community-at-large, those who loved and cared for him established the Lieutenant Dennis Zilinski Youth Group Memorial Scholarship Fund in 2006 to honor his memory and to pay tribute to the way in which his lived his life — a life that embodied the values of service to God and Church, service to country, service to his family and service to his community. Established through the leadership and dedication of Jo-Ann LoSapio and her son Christopher, the scholarship fund committee hosts fundraising events to support scholarships to youth group members who are entering college, furthering their higher education or entering the military.

On Saturday, May 16, the Middletown Reformed Church Youth Memorial Scholarship Committee will host “Dancing With Dennis,” an event which will raise money for youth scholarships, honor the lasting legacy of Lieutenant Zilinski, pay tribute to veterans from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan and recognize members of Gold Star Mothers. The event, which will be held from 6-10 pm at VFW Post 2179 in Port Monmouth, ill feature a buffet dinner and cash bar.

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ft hancock gun 2battery lewisA 120-ton, 16-inch cannon from the battleship USS New Jersey sat in the rail yard in Red Bank Saturday awaiting transport to Battery Lewis in Middletown’s Hartshorne Woods Park.

The gun, similar to one formerly in place at Battery Lewis, is to be hauled by truck to the park on March 30 for temporary, and eventually permanent, installation at the site, which was part of the Navesink Military Reservation during World War II, after which the guns were removed.

More information may be found here. (Click to enlarge)





rb veterans 111114 3 rb veterans 111114 4Red Bank Charter School fourth-graders sang, and local officials paid tribute to those who’ve served in America’s wars with a ceremony at the Veterans Monument on Monmouth Street on Tuesday, Veterans Day.

Michael Rodriguez, former Exalted Ruler of the Red Bank Elks, told the audience that the event was an acknowledgement of “those who live among us and those who live only in memory,” including soldiers and sailors unaccounted for. (Click photos to enlarge)


rb memorial day 2008The monument to war veterans at Monmouth Street and Drummond Place in Red Bank is once again host to a Veterans Day commemoration. Click “read more” for town-by-town events on the Green. (Click photos to enlarge)


NJ WAR DEADPress release from Christine Burke Associates

For the sixth year, the Lt. Dennis W. Zilinski II Memorial Fund will present its annual Toast to Dennis on Saturday, September 6. Scheduled from 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm, the event will be hosted at the riverfront home of Kim and Ron Jaeger in Rumson.

The donations raised by the wine and food event will benefit the fund that was created and founded in 2006 in order to honor local resident First Lieutenant Dennis W. Zilinski II, United States Army, who was killed in action while deployed in Iraq on November 19, 2005. Information regarding the event is available via the charity’s website www.runwithdennis.org.  All proceeds raised on behalf of the fund are used to support programs that assist our wounded soldiers and their families, and to provide scholarships in Dennis’s name to his alma mater, Christian Brothers Academy.

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army field bandThe largest rhythm-keeping force in the free world, the US Army Field Band deploys to the stage of the Count Basie Theatre on Monday, for a free public concert.

In its assembled glory, it’s a formidable force — and its many crack commando units and surgical-strike teams allow it to perform missions that range from a Dixieland septet and harp-flute duo, to a Son Tropical big band and diplomatic corps of Woodwind Ambassadors. When  The United States Army Field Band takes the stage of the Count Basie Theatre on Monday, July 28, it will be in the form of the organization that has thrilled and inspired audiences “from Boston to Baghdad” for over 60 years.

Scheduled for 7:30 pm, the concert finds the 60-plus members of the Field Band (under the command of Colonel Timothy J. Holtan) performing a selection of American music — from patriotic and military evergreens, to big-band pop standards and a selection of styles from this nation’s awesome sonic spectrum — in the way that “fosters the support of the American people for members of the armed forces and supports diplomatic efforts around the world.” And, as a thank-you for that support, they’ll be performing absolutely free of charge.

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rbpd clay vescio 032614
Newly elevated Captain Mike Clay, left, and Lieutenant Errico Vescio chat before being sworn to their new ranks Wednesday night. Below, Michael Frazee reciting the oath of lieutenant. Clay’s been on the squad since 1986; Vescio joined in 1999, and Frazee in 1996. Both Vescio and Frazee are Red Bank natives. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)


michael frazee 032614Red Bank’s police department completed a “once-in-a-lifetime” makeover Wednesday night with a host of promotions and a pair of new hires.

A new captain – former Lieutenant Mike Clay – four new lieutenants and six new sergeants were sworn to their ranks at a packed borough council meeting. Chief Darren McConnell, who’s held his post for just three months, said the promotions were aimed at putting the future leadership of the department in place.

But the mass elevation also may signal the beginning of the end of a long tradition in American policing: homegrown cops.

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