Plans for veterans memorial under way
BY DAVE BENJAMIN Staff Writer
JACKSON — Plans to construct a veterans memorial garden with a statue that will pay tribute to all of Jackson's military veterans are in the development stage.
In late October a committee was established by Mayor Mark Seda to put plans for a veterans memorial garden into action.
Charles Garofano is the chairman of the committee and Kenneth Bressi is the vice chairman. Both men are veterans of the Vietnam War. The committee will have representatives from Veterans of Foreign War Post 4703, American Legion Post 504, AMVETS, and the Vietnam Veterans of America.
"This type of memorial is long overdue in Jackson," Seda said. "Over the years thousands of township residents have proudly served our country, and we want to show them our appreciation."
Since August 2007, Garofano and Bressi have been meeting with an artist to design a monument with a surrounding garden that will honor all five branches of the U.S. armed forces: the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.
During the past year, a parcel of township owned land near Jackson Mills Lake at the intersection of Jackson Mills Road and East Commodore Boulevard was identified as a suitable location for the veterans memorial. The project is expected to be funded entirely by donations and grants from the public and private sectors.
Seda said, "Charlie and Ken have put together a very special project that will make Jackson residents proud. Their enthusiasm is infectious. With these two men leading the committee, the veterans memorial garden will surely be a success."
Bressi, who chairs the Jackson Planning Board, said at this point there is land and a design for the memorial.
"We now have to start the building project approval process and fundraising," he said. "I just want the public to know this park is dedicated to all veterans, Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard, regardless of which war they served in. It will not be for any particular war. It will be located by the lake where people can come to meditate, and it gives us a place to recall all veterans who have served."
Garofano said the committee's goal is to have the veterans memorial garden completed and open in three years. Anyone wishing to volunteer to assist on this project may reach Garofano at 732-833-2493.
Pavers will be sold to honor veterans
Plans call for construction of memorial in Jackson
BY DAVE BENJAMIN
“In June 2007 we came up with the idea as we were riding through Matawan,” said Charles Garofano, president of the Veterans Memorial Garden Inc. “I saw an old memorial at Broad and Main streets and there was a statue of a WorldWar II veteran, and behind that there was a wall divided in half, half for the Korean War veterans who lived in Matawan and half for the Vietnam veterans who lived in town,”
Garofano, a U.S. Army veteran, said he thought the idea of a divided memorial or separate memorials did not make sense.
With that thought in mind, he devised an idea for a Jackson memorial to honor all veterans.
“This is for all veterans who served in the armed forces from day one to the current time and also into the future,” he said of the monument being planned. Organizers are preparing to sell pavers at the memorial that will honor the men and women who have served in the armed forces.
Jackson Township Councilman Ken Bressi, who is the vice president of the Veterans Memorial Garden Inc., described the plan for the memorial near Jackson Mills Lake at the intersection of Jackson Mills Road and West Commodore Boulevard.
“We plan on constructing the memorial in phases,” Bressi said. “On the right side as you approach the memorial, there will be a pentagon shaped area which will have the American flag, the New Jersey State flag, the township flag and the POW-MIA flag.”
Bressi, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, said he hopes to raise the flags on Nov. 11, Veterans Day.
The next step after that will be to have the flagpoles constructed for the flags honoring branches of the military.
Following that, the remainder of the memorial will be constructed.
Benches will be available for purchase to honor individuals.
Several thousand pavers are expected to be available at a cost of $135 each. Each paver can hold three lines of up to 16 characters.
“We had a lady who called us already who said she did not know a veteran. She asked if she could donate a paver to all veterans. Now, that’s heartwarming,” Bressi said.
“I have to stress that this is not for any one war or era. This is for every person who has ever served in our armed forces and is a veteran today and will be a veteran tomorrow.
“Many military personnel have to move their families around the country or even around the world. This is for all who have served this country and for all who have been there who have allowed us to have peace,” Bressi said. “All gave some and some gave all.”
Donations can be made by check, money order, credit card (Visa or MasterCard) or online with PayPal.
Garofano said the purpose of the memorial garden is to honor those who have served, to encourage and foster patriotism, and to recognize all veterans for their courage and willingness to give all for their country.
The Veterans Memorial Garden Inc. is a 501(c)3 corporation, and all donations are taxdeductible to the full extent allowed by law. For further information, visit the website at www.jacksonvetsmemorial.com or call Charles Garofano at 732-833-2493 or Ken Bressi at 732- 928-4879, or send an email for a paver request form to firstname.lastname@example.org.