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Vol. 1, No. 2 Nov. 2018
What is Thanksgiving All About?
Parsippany Life Thank you for reading this second issue of “Parsippany Life.” Parsippany is such a great place to work, live and play. There is so much here for the residents to enjoy that we have decided to dedicate a magazine to Parsippany. The people that make up this community are caring people who never hesi- Paula Battle tate to help others in need. Our goal is to provide you with articles about people, places and things all Parsippany. Each month you can pick up a copy of the magazine at local businesses or visit www.iwantmypaper.com and sign up for a free emailed copy that will be sent directly to your email. You will find articles on Smith Field Park,St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church as well other articles. We are also asking our readers to send us in photos and information on your life events, parties, birthdays, weddings, engagements or any other milestones. You can send them to editor@ mylifepublications.com.
We welcome your feedback as well to the same email. You can also visit our website www. mylifepublications. com or on Facebook under “Parsippany Life.” Please support Barbara Freda our advertisers in our publications as they make this magazine available free to all with their advertising support. We want to help the local businesses and your support of them is appreciated. We are happy to have Paula Battle and Barbara Freda as our sales representatives for “Parsippany Life.” Battle, formerly of “Neighbor News,” and Freda, who is with New View Media Group, are both marketing specialists. Thank you for choosing “Parsippany Life” to read and enjoy. Joe Nicastro & Mary Lalama Publishers
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Organization Oﬀers Hope And Help To Veterans Navigating After War “The military breaks you down to build you up and works for what you are doing in wartime but once you are back in the real world, it’s confusing,” the 25-year-old shares on the website. “The infantry doesn’t train you well for the job market.” By Jillian Rissberg
hey had a front row seat to the horrors of combat and now they have an ally right here at home. Community Hope in Parsippany is a safe haven for veterans and their loved ones to overcome mental illness, addiction, homelessness and poverty. It’s the largest nonprofit serving homeless veterans and families in and around New Jersey. “We’ve been providing housing and support services for as many as 1,500 to 1,600 veterans and their family members annually,” says Julia Bey Ahmet, chief development officer. Community Hope shares on its website some of the stories of veterans they have connected with and helped in various ways. To protect the privacy of its clients, only first names have been used in this article. One veteran, Ruben went into the service right out of high school and after four years, received an honorable medical discharge, walking with the aid of a cane and struggling with depression and PTSD after seeing combat in Afghanistan. “The military breaks you down to build you up and works for what you are doing in wartime but once you are back in the real world, it’s confusing,” the 25-year-old shares on the website. “The infantry doesn’t train you well for the job market.” Ruben calls being homeless a “very dehumanizing fac-
tor.” After a suicide attempt and stint in a VA program, Ruben entered Hope for Veterans. “I desperately needed to come here and transition back to civilian life,” he says. “As veterans we support each other. We’re a community. It’s an environment where people understand each other.” Ruben credits his Community Hope case managers with “helping me feel human again,” he shares. “They are not patronizing or false. They are sincere in wanting to help you and there is always an open door.” He is focusing on his college art school classes, his medical treatment and gaining his independence. “I understand that I have to take my time here so I don’t return, so I make it on my own,” he states. Ahmet says their commitment to carry out the mission in which Community Hope was founded in 1985 remains — and their residential “Hope for Veterans” programs provide a refuge for more than 160 a day in their recovery. The programs are open to non-veterans as well. Four New Jersey counties have housing and support services for people with serious mental illness — and 15 New Jersey counties (Bergen, Burlington, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Pas-
saic, Somerset, Sussex, Union and Warren) for homeless veterans and their families. “This is really, really close to my heart, in the work and in the organization, as well I have family members with serious mental illness so that’s sort of the third piece,” says Carmine Deo, chief operating officer. “Being here and being connected to Community Hope is really a lifelong thing for me and being named CEO is even better.” Ahmet says creating and building their fundraising program has been tremendously rewarding, and it has enabled them to develop new programs and extend their reach to more individuals. One of those individuals is Arthur, an Afghanistan War Veteran — infantryman, veterinary tech and dental assistant. His plans changed once he got out of the Army and he found himself homeless, with military skills that didn’t transfer to viable civilian employment. He often slept in his car and looked for work. “You get to the point of thinking about suicide,” Arthur states on the website. “I said to myself, there has to be something else.” He connected with a Community Hope caseworker at the local VA office and things started looking up. Next stop — county college to become a certified dental hygienist and a role model for his son and daughter. “I didn’t have a home for five months,” says Arthur. “Community Hope gave me a second chance at life.” According to Ahmet, she has many family members who served.
“So I think we all have a great opportunity to give back to those who are presently in need,” she says. And the veterans they treat really span the generations, and many conflicts. “Last year our youngest veteran was 24-years-old that we rescued from homelessness and the oldest was a 95-yearold World War II veteran,” Ahmet says. This time of year can be especially tough - family challenges and other pressures are intensified. “We are always looking at the people we serve, whether with mental illness or homeless veterans and make sure that we ramp One of those individuals is Arthur, an Afghanistan War up the serVeteran — infantryman, veterinary tech and dental vices and assistant. His plans changed once he got out of the provide the sup- Army and he found himself homeless, with military skills that didn’t transfer to viable civilian employment. port that all families need around the holidays,” Deo says. That includes emergency Housing, Transitional Housing, Permanent Supportive Housing and Rapid Re-Housing. The Hope for Veterans Programs are 90 days, nine months and others are indefinite for people with serious mental illness who need long-term care. And Veterans Village was intended to be a permanent home for veterans who were formerly homeless and may also be disabled so they have an affordable place to live with onsite support services. It’s just what Second Class Petty Officer Steven
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needed. He proudly served our country for more than nine years and completed four tours of duty. The Iraq and Afghanistan War Veteran managed 30 cooks and was responsible for feeding 3,000 servicemen and women four times a day. He also saw conflict while transporting Marines and Special Forces into war zones. But upon returning home, he began experiencing anxiety and paranoia. “I didn’t know what was wrong with me,” the Navy man says, explaining that he used marijuana to self-medicate the escalating symptoms, which later turned out to be a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia. Unable to work, he became homeless and destitute until entering a VA short-term residential and recovery program. From there Steven transferred to Community Hope’s Hope for Veterans Program, where he now works at an on-campus cafe and receives wrap-around services. He is optimistic about his future and hopes to pursue a college degree. “Whether it’s the homeless prevention program, transitional housing program or supportive housing program, the goal is always getting people to permanent housing and having a sustainable permanent housing plan,” Deo says. The root cause of homelessness for many of these veterans often stems back to a mental health issue, including substance abuse. “Our largest current campaign has been to bring mental health
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counseling services to all of the veterans that are in 95-bed transitional housing programs, where we’re seeing at least eight out of 10 veterans with a mental health issue,” Ahmet says. Another client, Danny was an Army medic in Iraq and then Afghanistan, where he spent time embedded with the 101st Airborne Division in a Taliban stronghold. He witnessed war’s devastating effects ... while treating his injured fellow soldiers. He returned home to deep emotional scars: Night terrors, sleeping with a weapon under his pillow for protection, crippling depression. He was soon living out of his car, isolated and homeless. But Community Hope has helped Danny have better days. He receives the support and counseling he needs
through the Hope for Veterans Transitional Housing Program. And a year after entering the program, he returned to college to pursue a healthcare degree that allows him to build on his experience as a medic and continue helping others. According to Deo, many times mental health issues are either combat related, service related and may have started after they were already a veteran or no longer serving. “Sometimes you can still see a direct line, whether it was a physical or emotional disability that occurred or at least the seeds started,” Deo says. “But for returning service men it’s really about the impact of regular civilian life when they come back here — be it economic, relationship or employment.” Community Hope knows veterans can’t do it alone. “Especially our SSVF Program, the focus is homeless veteran
families and so we seek to engage families in the process,” Deo says. “Across all of our services, the family and support network component are important to everyone’s recovery.” And the organization continually feels the community’s love. “We were fortunate to have 850 supporters who came out for our 22nd annual gala and we’re asking corporations to participate in a ‘Jeans Day’ (Nov. 11),” Ahmet says. “Typically the employee makes a $5 donation to support our veterans in exchange for wearing jeans to work.” To help a veteran, go to http://www.communityhope-nj. org/ and click on the donation tab at the top. To donate by mail — make check payable to “Community Hope, Inc.,” 959 Route 46 East, Suite 402, Parsippany, N.J. 07054. Include honoree’s name and contact information. “Donations are greatly appreciated and help us ensure, as the winter approaches a safe and warm place for our veterans to sleep,” Ahmet says. Many groups organize collection drives of gift cards for the vets so they can buy food and warm clothes. Other groups hold sock drives and there’s a holiday drive so each veteran gets a gift, usually something essential like a sweatshirt, winter coat, hat, gloves, sleeping bag or boots. “How much it means to our veterans to be remembered around this time of year and as Veteran’s Day approaches that their service was truly valued,” Ahmet says. “‘And how honored and privileged we feel to be serving veterans, recognizing their service and helping them out of difficult situations,” Deo adds.
Parsippany Historical And Preservation Society Dedicated To Preserving Past And Future
By Steve Sears he Parsippany Historical and Preservation Society was formed for a very good reason: an interest from the locals in history. The key point is this. History happened here, near spots where highways now are home to speeding cars, strip malls and developments. Yes, that history relates to the Morris County town, but it’s also New Jersey history, northern New Jersey history, and United States history. Unless the Parsippany Historical and Preservation Society brings to mind and helps locals and history buffs by educating and aiding memory of these places and events, they’ll perish. “That is sort of what we’re really trying to do,” says Nancy Brighton, treasurer of the Parsippany Historical and Preservation Society, as well as the chair for the Historic Preservation Advisory Committee, both groups working closely together. “Because the town has used dollars and taxpayers dollars in purchasing and maintaining historic properties, and we have a number of properties in private hands or institution hands, we want to help them preserve what they have, and we feel like we’ve made a commitment to maintaining history that you and actually see and touch, as opposed to where you go and read it in a book,” she says.
All photographs were taken by Kenneth Purzycki.
“We’re trying to work with both the town and with other people and with other groups to help keep some of that safe from development as best we can.” In addition to Brighton, the Parsippany Historical and Preservation Society Officers include President Randy Tortorello; Vice-President Barbara Seaman; Corresponding/ Recording Secretary - Jessica Soit; and Archivist Sandy Kron. The Board of Trustees include Robert Peluso, Mary Purzycki and Carol Tiesi. “That is sort of what we’re really trying to do,” The mission says Nancy Brighton, treasurer of the Parsippany of the group may Historical and Preservation Society, as well as be found on the the chair for the Historic Preservation Advisory website, http:// Committee, both groups working closely together. parsippanyhistoricalsociety.org. Why the 1998 formation? “I think what really started to happen was there was a lot of development going on in town,” she says. “Unless there was somebody or some group to speak for it [preservation of older houses in town] – Parsippany’s historic building, and Parsippany had quite a few then, and still does now – they were going to start disappearing.” The Parsippany Historical and Preservation So-
ciety works with the town regarding the historical properties it maintains. The town owns the buildings and provides physical maintenance, but the PHS helps keep them open and interpret them. “One is the Parsippany Museum, also known as the Bolwsby/DeGelleke House on Baldwin Road; one is the Littleton Schoolhouse over on Littleton Road and Route 10; one is the Smith/Baldwin House over on South Beverwyck; the Petroglyph and Rock House; and then the most recent acquisition is Forge Pond and Dam behind Smith/Baldwin,” says Brighton. As far as the Parsippany Historical and Preservation Society goes, it does not just touch on historic properties, although that is a huge focus. What about historic persons that lived or memorable events that occurred there? “What we try to do is each year try to pick a theme,” she says. “Last year, 2017, we did some World War I oriented programs; we’ve done Civil War. What we really try to do is take that national event and link it back to that person or persons in Parsippany. For example, the Civil War, in the Presbyterian Church ceme-
tery, there are a number of individuals that are buried there that fought in the Civil War, and we took three men that had interesting careers. We wrote about them, and in one program we had in the fall, when people came to visit the house, we actually had a funeral for one of the gentlemen. For World War I we did the same thing for a World War I nurse, and she went overseas to do nursing, so we interpreted her. We sometimes do characters and dress up, sometimes we do exhibits at the Parsippany Museum that tell about different people’s lives.” She says, “We take what goes on nationally and bring it back home to show how what was going on in Parsippany, too.” The group faces many challenges, primarily members and memberships, which is needed. Meetings are held the third Wednesday of every month except January and July, and membership forms are available at the historic sites. The Parsippany Historical and Preservation Society seeks members from a variety of age groups. “There’s a lot of setting up, cleaning up, getting things
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What Is Thanksgiving All About? Proclamation of President Abraham Lincoln, October 3, 1863.
n the middle of the American Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln, prompted by a series of editorials written by Sarah Josepha Hale, proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day, to be celebrated on the 26th, the final Thursday of November 1863. The document, written by Secretary of State William H. Seward, reads as follows: The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle, or the ship; the axe had enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented
strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years, with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union. In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed. Done at the city of Washington, this third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the independence of the United States the eighty-eighth.â€? Proclamation of President Abraham Lincoln, October 3, 1863.
“Anybody and everybody is welcome to join the society; you don’t have to attend a certain number of meetings, we are just to happy to have people who are interested in general the history of Parsippany,” she says. all together, and then there’s the actual putting on of the presentation.” Brighton also adds, “We have a lot of members who are older, which is great because they are retired, and they can do things anytime of the day, but some are limited physically, and volunteering becomes a challenge. It’s also good to have members who are younger so that you know the organization is going to continue.” Attendance at events is greatly encouraged especially if there are a variety of age groups, aids asking for grants. It’s a great means of supporting the mission. Events are listed on the website, group’s Facebook page, and local papers. The Parsippany Historical and Preservation Society also accepts monetary donations.” The mailing address is PO Box 6266, Parsippany, N.J., 07054. “Anybody and everybody is welcome to join the society; you don’t have to attend a certain number of meetings, we are just to happy to have people who are interested in general the history of Parsippany,” she says. Peluso, president and founder Parsippany Area Visitor Center in addition to being a Trustee with Parsippany Historical and Preservation Society, adds a definitive closing statement. “Parsippany has a rich history and the Parsippany Historical and Preservation Society provides many opportunities to explore and learn about our community and its founding families,” says Peluso. “I’m proud to be a trustee while we celebrate Parsippany’s 90th anniversary this year. Parsippany continues to transform and it’s an honor to preserve our past and look towards our future.”
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St. Peter The Apostle Catholic Church Embraces Diversity, Change And Discipleship
St. Peter’s parish in Parsippany is a multi-cultural one which embraces not only its diversity, but its discipleship. One way the latter is reﬂected is through the St. Stephen’s Ministry which is forming in the church.
By Elsie Walker uring one service “Father Herb” Tillyer told his congregation at St. Peter The Apostle Catholic Church that those within the parish represent all the occupied continents of the world, except Australia….and then he teased that if there was someone from Australia in their midst to tap him on his shoulder and let him know. St. Peter’s parish in Parsippany is a multi-cultural one which embraces not only its diversity, but its discipleship. One way the latter is reflected is through the St. Stephen’s Ministry which is forming in the church. Rev. Msgr. Tillyer has been at St. Peter the Apostle since 1994. He has, however, been a priest much longer than that; he celebrated his 50th anniversary as a priest this past May. When asked what inspired him to become a priest, Tillyer shared, “I think it was my family background. My parents were devout Catholics.” As a youngster, the priests in his parish were role models to him. He attended Bayley-Ellard. Later, Tillyer enrolled in Seton Hall, which has a program for men contemplating the priesthood. There the calling became stronger. He became a priest in 1968. “Father Herb,” as he likes to be called, has a variety of interests. Although he is unable to have one where he lives now, he loves cats. Also, he is a fan of the New York Yankees, New York Giants, New York Knicks, and his alma mater,
Seton Hall. Tillyer loves to read history and to travel. Later this year, he will be travelling with members of the parish to the Holy Land. Tillyer is part of the history of the church, which dates back to 1938. According to a history provided by the church office, the parish of St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church was formed in 1938 to serve the needs of a summer resort community that was quickly turning into a year-round one. The first Mass was celebrated in the Lake Hiawatha Firehouse. In 1939, the parish bought a tract of Diocese-owned land for the price of one dollar and a church was built in 1940. Among the milestones since then have included completion of the Shrine to Our Lady of Lourdes (a copy of the original in France) in May 11, 1955 and construction of a parish school in the late 1950s. By 1959, a convent and an auditorium were added. Over the years, the growth of the parish required a new church building, and in 1988, the present church was dedicated. It includes a daily mass chapel and a church hall. Since then, other changes have occurred, including the introduction of Perpetual Adoration (available 24 hours, seven days a week) in what is the former convent chapel, as well as a 40 percent expansion of the school facility, to accommodate school, C.C.D. and parish needs. In 2009, the parish’s school closed and in its building, a new Parsippany Catholic
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School, All Saints Academy, opened as a project of three parishes in Parsippany. Besides all the physical changes, this parish has seen others. These changes include the demographics of the area. Tillyer, noted that the changes reflect that of the town itself. Many years ago, there were a handful of Catholic families in the parish area, now there are a couple hundred. The area is also more culturally diverse. Tillyer estimated about 30 percent of Parsippany’s population is Asian Indians. There is also a large Spanish population, plus a Filipino one. The church embraces its diversity and shared faith, which is reflected in its worship. Besides Sunday masses (in English), which Tillyer notes are traditional, every Saturday there is a Spanish mass. Tillyer noted English speaking ministers of communion take part in the Spanish Mass, while Spanish speaking ministers of communion take part in the English mass. The father sees it as symbol-
ic of sharing culture and faith. Although most understand English, once a month there is a mass in a language Asian Indians would recognize from their home country, which gives them a chance to experience religion in their own language. Once a month there is also a Filipino mass which draws people from other parishes. From time to time, the church has held an international mass in which different portions are done in different languages, flags of various countries are displayed, and afterwards various foods are shared Tillyer noted that it is symbolic in showing that although from various cultural backgrounds, all share the same faith. Tillyer noted some of the other aspects of St. Peter’s parish life. It has a food pantry to help people in needed. Tillyer said, “the Lord said to take care of each other.” Once a month, the members of the parish bring in food, which is sorted and set-up for those who need help and come to the food pantry. About
40 to 50 families are helped in that way each month. Another example of outreach is its youth group’s yearly trips to Appalachia, where a group goes to help in home repair, helping those in one of the poorest parts of the United States. The parish is active in Catholic Youth Organization basketball, in which teams of children in grades four to eight play. All the volunteers who work with the children go through a background check and training as part of the “Protecting God’s Children” program. In addition, there are a variety of adult athletic offerings in the gym during the week. Once a week, children ages six months to three years and their parents, and some grandparents, come together for playtime and to socialize. The children are exposed to their religion as well, at a level that’s appropriate for their age. In addition to these examples of life at St. Peter’s, the church has another. It is starting a St. Stephen Ministry. Helping to launch and develop that ministry at St. Peter’s is Beverly Delleart of Pompton Plains. She is a certified spiritual director who studied at the Quellen Spiritual Center in Mendham. She has been in ministry for 30 years at the parish level and arch dioceses level. Delleart explained that the St. Stephen Ministry, named for the apostle in the New Testament, equips laity to walk through the difficult times with someone, for as long as needed, as long as it is the “best and appropriate care.” St. Stephen ministry involves “compassionate listening.” In wanting to bring this ministry to his parish, Delleart describes Tillyer as a “visionary” who “is really involving the laity in the work of the church.” Currently, 17 parishioners are going through the extensive formation training needed to be part of the St. Stephen Ministry. An overview of how the ministry works is this: A priest may become aware of someone who needs more than meeting with him weekly; the priest would see if the person would like a St. Stephen minister. If so, the priest would contact the leadership of the parish’s St. Stephen ministry and explain the person’s situation, but not give out the person’s name. The leaders would take a day to pray on which St. Stephen minister would be a good match and the minister they feel inspired to ask would be contacted. The minister would be told the situation, but not the name of the person. The minister would then decide if he or she felt called to serve at that time. If so, the person and the minister would re-
ceive each other’s name and start connecting. Knowing that the person now has someone to walk in the journey with him or her, the priest can address the next family in need. Example of situations in which a St. Stephen minister might provide care is in the death of a loved one, loss of a job, cancer diagnosis and treatment, relocation of a loved one, etc. In addition to listening, St. Stephen ministers are conduits to resources, like the food pantry, that they can put the person they are caring for in contact with. Delleart noted that St. Stephen ministers are bound by confidentially. “Men and women who answer the call [to be St. Stephen ministers] go through extensive training,” noted Delleart. Delleart said that the church’s students in the program are committed. She noted that the training is held at night after most have finished the work day. Also, they are not only preparing to help others, but are growing spiritually as they go through the training. “St. Stephen ministry involves the entire parish,” noted Delleart. She shared that those who are not training are praying for those who are. Also, they help to spread the word of what the ministry is, and in the future, can help to let those in the parish who are in need know of this ministry. The first group of St. Stephen ministers at St. Peter’s will be blessed and commissioned at a mass set for March 31, 2019. Delleart notes that already others have inquired about the next training session to become a minister. The St. Stephen ministry and the church’s other activities reflect the love of this church, which is also evident as people come to it looking for a church home. When registering new members, Tillyer shared that he asks, “Why are you here?” He noted that “people are so welcoming to me” is one of the answers. Another comment that he’s heard from parents of children is “there’s a large diversity in the parish.” They like that their children will be exposed to a church that so many different cultures attend. What does Tillyer say? “Why don’t you just come and attend and see what you feel,” he said. “See what we’re like. We’re glad to see you.” An upcoming event in the church is the Christmas Concert set for the afternoon of Dec.2. For more information about St. Peter the Apostle Church call the rectory at 973-334-2090 or visit saintpetertheapostle.org.
Parsippany Veterans Recall Serving Their Country Once a military man, always a military man, according to Erdmann. “Once you’re in the military that stays with you, I don’t care what service you were in,” he says.
By Steve Sears ary Erdmann, 77, was reflecting on the recent passing of 92-year-old Whippany resident, World War II veteran Harry L. Ettlinger, whose wake he’d recently attended. He was feeling a touch of sadness. “They’re gone,” he responds quietly when asked if many World War II veterans remain. “We’ve got one more; he’s 89 or 90. We’re losing these guys,” he says. “This has been going on the last 10 years,” he says while sitting inside the VFW Post 10184 home on Baldwin Road in Parsippany. It is 56 years to the day that the Cuban Missile crisis started, and three years since the passing of his wife. “The one we have, Jack Carey, who’s a member of the post, I pick him up and drive him because he can’t drive anymore. But he’s been a founding father of this post.” He has many recollections of his career of flying for the country, and plenty of documentation and photos to revisit those days long ago. Erdmann, a Lake Hiawatha resident of more than 55 years, was very involved with the U2 Dragon Fly Reconnaissance airplane during his service with the Air Force in Vietnam from 1961 – 1965. “I was very involved during the Cuban Missile Crisis right up to Vietnam,” he says. “I was in Vietnam from ‘64 to ‘65.” Erdmann, who was a recipient of 6 medals for his service, including a Good Conduct Medal and National Defense Medal, recalls his days of service fondly. “I have many top memories, because my unit got a citation from President [John F.] Kennedy, of course right before he died,”
he says. “I have another from the White House, saying – and this was for the Cuban Missile Crisis – thanking us for the service, and such beautiful photographs which showed Cuba building missiles on the island.” Erdmann mentions as well that he worked with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) “as well our own intelligence people.” Once a military man, always a military man, according to Erdmann. “Once you’re in the military that stays with you, I don’t care what service you were in,” he says. “My son was a Marine with [General Norman] Schwarzkopf and he’s just as happy. Once you’re in the military and you salute that flag, you don’t stop saluting it.” He then speaks with disdain with regard to the sports players not properly saluting the red, white, and blue. “A matter of fact, these sport guys kneeling for the National Anthem or Pledge of Allegiance, I have a sign that says, ‘I stand for the flag, but I kneel for the fallen.’ In other words, our military that didn’t make it back like us lucky ones.” John Flavin, also a Lake Hiawatha resident, was a Midshipman in the Vietnam War. “I was in the United States Navy from 1966-1970,” says Flavin. “I was 19 years old and you had three choices: Enlist, get drafted or go to Canada. I chose to enlist instead of waiting for the draft.” Flavin, who grew up playing with toy soldiers and watching war movies, says “For some strange it seemed exciting, said my main reason [for enlisting] was love of country.” Excitement and fear were his emotions upon entering,
though. “One day you’re home and the next day whole life has changed,” he says. “You grew up fast in basic training. There were rules, lots of rules, punishment if not followed.” However, for a boy originally growing up in Brooklyn in 1950s, it was welcome. “The neighborhoods were tough, and we were always getting in trouble,” he says. “The Navy changed all that - basic training they straightened me right out.” He then adds with a chuckle, “I still fold my clothes the way the Navy showed me, and if my wife folds them after washing, I will refold them the correct way.” Flavin, assigned to the USS Newport News CA148, a “Heavy cruiser,” he coins it, did two tours in Vietnam, and calls his ship “a war machine.” It is one of a few vivid memories for him. “The first time we came under fire,” he says referring to the first, “You were scared out of your wits, but right away your training kicks in and we became a well-oiled machine.” The second is of a more peaceful nature. “Shore leave, in places you never thought you would be.” During his two tours of Vietnam, his unit lost no comrades, but on the third tour of duty which he was not a part of, an explosion
Coming oﬀ the gunline after a long mission.
in a gun turret during combat killed 19 sailors. “You still feel for their families if you knew them or not,” he adds solemnly. He also recalls a special tale during a rest and relaxation break with fellow Navy men. “A few of us were in a bar in Japan and the waitress brought over a round of drinks and pointed to a table full of Marines,” he describes. “I went over to thank them, and they said, ‘No, thank you. We saw your ships’ name on your uniform and if not for you guys we wouldn’t be here.’ And that thank you meant the world to us.” For his service, Flavin was awarded a Navy Unit Commendation, Combat Action Medal, Meritorious Unit Commendation, Vietnam Service Medal, and National Defense Service Medal. The County of Morris also issued him a War Commemorative Medal.” After he was discharged in 1970, he started to work for AT&T, and eventually met his future wife there. Like Erdmann, he is proud to have served, and loves the American flag. “I am proud to have served and there is no other flag in the world that represents freedom as our flag,” he says. “When the people in concentration camps during WW2 saw our flag, their nightmare was over. That’s what our flag represents.”
Smith Field Park – Parsippany’s Grand Stage For The Community
By Steve Sears andwiched between the busy highways of Routes 46 and 80 sits 20 acres of greenery and activity for young and old. Smith Field Park is without a doubt the busiest park in Parsippany but is as well arguably the most used in Morris County. As a facility goes, it offers an abundance. Jim Walsh, superintendent of Parks and Forestry for the Township of Parsippany-Troy Hills, says the park is huge in the life of the area. “It certainly is the busiest in Parsippany, and it’s probably one of the busiest in Morris County,” says Walsh. “The way its set up is along the lines of a county park in that its size – and with the new expansion propertyis probably close to 20 acres now; and the way it’s laid out with all the athletic fields are under lights. And that includes two artificial turf fields, once soccer and football field, one multi-purpose field which is the new one, part of the new expansion we just put in, that encompasses lacrosse, field hockey, recreational Cricket and a softball\ baseball field that’s all artificial turf.” Walsh says he believes the park is at least 50 years old, which is roughly when the town took over the property. He recalls being five years old and playing there. The geographic location is excellent. “It is certainly one of the most recognizable facilities
in New Jersey,” says Walsh. “When you tell people you live in Parsippany, they say, ‘Oh, you mean by that big rec field up by Route 80?’ Yep, that’s it. The good part is it’s nestled in between two highways, and not right next to residential areas, so the facilities can be used, because almost everything is under lights, almost 24 hours a day without disturbing any residential areas.” Walsh says groups such a Relay for Life use Smith Field Park around the clock as a host facility. Smith Field Park has been utilized for many events over the years, such as the Mount Hope Walsh says he believes the park is at least 50 years softball yearly t o u r n a m e n t s , old, which is roughly when the town took over the property. He recalls being ﬁve years old and playing the arrival of there. The geographic location is excellent. Smokey the Bear by helicopter for Arbor Day, the home field for the Budweiser Belles traveling softball team, concerts, annual soccer tourneys and many college level baseball games. Smith Field Park is kept in fine shape by the Department of Parks and Forestry for the Township of Parsippany-Troy Hills. “We have at least two people there every day,” says Walsh. “Between the grass cutting and garbage pickup from the previous day and night, ball field maintenance, restroom cleaning, we usually have two people there throughout our busy season, every day. Besides
the summertime sports, that’s home to our all-day playground which is attended by…there’s got to be hundreds of kids that go there every day.” With regard to any historical aspect of the property, Walsh has been told that a majority of the property was donated by the Smith family. He believes the artificial field out front, which borders Route 46 East, was originally part of Saint Peter’s Parish, which sits across the road. When the roadway was widened, the parish donated the property to the town. Robert Peluso, former Council vice president for the Township of Parsippany-Troy Hills, shares some historical information. “In 1950, Smith Field North was ceremoniously opened,” says Peluso. “It was the first unit of a long-range development program planned for this 30-acre tract of land that was donated in 1947 by Lloyd W. Smith who was a prominent benefactor of the town. Although Smith Field South was never developed due to it being cut-off by the Route 80 expansion, the Township of Parsippany under the leadership of council members and its fine employees was able to continue the progress of expansion and revitalization in 2015/2016. The township continues to see many requests for additional sports and we need to do more. I am an advocate to add a dedicated professional cricket field though grants and private donations which will support community and economic development. As former council vice president, I voted to approve the Smith Field Park expansion project and I feel that it’s always an honor working with good coaches and neighbors to build fine parks and programs for our families.” The referred-to expansion, a two phase project which is in the latter, has significantly improved the park. Walsh provides detail, “When you go and do an expansion, it’s not like you have a clean canvas. You have a facility that has been there many, many years, so you have to incorporate all the utilities and existing facilities to meld together with what you want to put in there. So, it took us a very long time to do the expansion plan. It was supposed to be all done at once, but once the numbers came in, it was astronomical. It was over $7 million. So, the previous administration and I looked to do something we could afford to get it going. But, when you’re doing that, you have to
be cognizant of what’s coming down the road. So, the plans were pretty much done to do everything, but then we broke it up into phases.” Phase one was finished in 2016, which included the multi-purpose field, redoing the basketball and tennis courts, and the addition of a new restroom and fieldhouse for the existing turf field, and new utilities like upgraded electric. Phase two plans are now being completed, and that part of the expansion will be undertaken within the next year. “We will relocate the basketball courts to the northeast side of the property, and take the handball courts and move them there, too, so you’ll have new handball, new basketball and new tennis courts,” says Walsh. Also planned is an additional restroom, two large play structures for two to five year olds, and five to 12 year olds, a new picnic pavilion, and a new maintenance facility for Walsh’s crew. “Then, the biggest thing is the parking,” says Walsh. “The parking right now is atrocious at Smith Field Park. Where the basketball and tennis courts are now, that’s going to be additional parking tied into the parking lot that’s adjacent to the Empire Diner.” Walsh also mentions another special gem to the Smith Field Park expansion. “Right now, you can walk around Smith Field Park, but we’re looking to add some walking trails to kind of combine all the existing walkways, so that while somebody’s child is playing softball, baseball or whatever, the parents can walk and take maybe the littler ones that can’t play sports around the facility,” shares Walsh. “You try to tie that all in so that there’s a lot of things for many different people to do. Because of its location it’s not necessarily a neighborhood park so the parents have to drive there, so why not give them something to do with the younger ones while the older ones are doing their sports. And if you’d just like to go there and walk safely and not get hit by a car that would be a place to go.” There’s something for everybody, which is what makes Smith Field Park special. “That,” says Walsh, “is what we’re trying to achieve, and with this second phase we will, and everything will be updated and new.”
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Local Organization Plans Toys For Tots Drive
he American Legion 249 of Parsippany has planned an upcoming Toys for Tots drive, that features a Lunch with Santa on Dec. 9, from noon to 3 p.m., at Legion 91 North Beverwyck Rd, Lake Hiawatha. Free lunch will be provided with each unwrapped toy. San-
ta will give each child a gift. There will also be a craft table. For more information, call 973-335-9266. The American Legion is non-profit organization that helps Veterans and their families with many organized events throughout the year.
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Largest Neurosurgical Practice In New Jersey, ANS Now Makes Best-In-Class Medical Care More Widely Available
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