History of The American Legion, Joyce Kilmer, Post 25, Department of New Jersey
In his Farewell Address, Ronald Reagan said if we forget what we have done, we will forget who we are. This writing is the history of American Legion Post 173, Milltown, N.J., American Legion Post 25, New Brunswick, NJ. and the merger of these two American Legion posts into the current American Legion Post 25, Milltown, N.J. Its content is from the many Post newsletters over the years, from the recorded minutes of regular post meetings, from the Dedication Ceremony of Post 25, Milltown and from first hand knowledge of many Post members. It is written in chronological date order, presenting the many simultaneous activities as they occurred over the years. This is not the complete history, because some of that has been lost because there are no records of any further activities and/or post members have gone onto Post Everlasting, taking with them the knowledge of other activities in the history of these Posts.
If anyone has any updates that you feel should be captured as historical events in any of these three American Legion Posts, please either email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or mail them to me at:
Finance Officer, Bob Richards
American Legion, Post 25 4 J. F. Kennedy Drive Milltown, N. J. 08850
I will incorporate your additional comments into the next edition of the history of these Posts.
FOR GOD AND COUNTRY
Bob Richards, Past Post Commander June 22, 2009
“ Still Serving America”
History of The American Legion, Joyce Kilmer, Post 25, Department of New Jersey
Post 25, New Brunswick
American Legion Post #25 was founded in New Brunswick, New Jersey, chartered on July 18, 1929. Under the guidance of its first Commander, Walter H. Smith, the post established headquarters in the abandoned firehouse of Hibernian Engine Company on the corner of Easton Avenue and Wyckoff Street in that city. The post was named after the famous poet soldier, a native of New Brunswick, who was killed on a battle field of France on July 30, 1918. The
charter membership deemed it a fitting tribute to a fellow comrade in arms who had made the supreme sacrifice, and hoped by their action to help perpetuate the name of Joyce Kilmer. Under the leadership of Commander Walter H. Smith, the post membership grew to 250 members. The following year, May 18, 1930, Joyce Kilmer Post 25, the American Legion acquired the home located at 17 Codwise Avenue (renamed Joyce Kilmer Avenue in 1961), New Brunswick. This building was the birthplace of Joyce Kilmer, the poet-soldier, who was a Sergeant, in Headquarters Company of the 165th Exp. The title to the property had passed through several owners since the Kilmer family had sold it to William Danberry in 1903. Dedication of the building was made with such fanfare on July 4, 1930 at which time Post 25 officially used it for their headquarters until the last meeting of the post was held there on December 14, 1972. At that time keys to the building were turned over to the State of New Jersey which had purchased the building to establish a shrine to the memory of Joyce Kilmer.
Above is the Joyce Kilmer home, which was the Post home for Post 25, New Brunswick. This picture was taken during one of the Memorial Day ceremonies held each year by the members of Post 25, Milltown. The third person from the left, bending over, looks like Bill Thomson, as he was preparing the memorial wreath for the ceremony.
Alfred Joyce Kilmer (1886-1918), the noted American poet killed in action during World War I,
was bom in New Brunswick, New Jersey, on 6 December 1886.
Educated first at Rutgers College in 1904 and then at Columbia University, Kilmer worked from 1909-12 - after a brief stint as a salesman - for Funk and Wagnall, helping to edit their Standard Dictionary.
Although Kilmer exhibited early signs of radicalism and was indeed something of a socialist, he nevertheless retained a deep religious sense throughout his life. A one-time Literary Editor of The Churchman newspaper, an Anglican journal, Kilmer himself converted to Catholicism in
In June 1908 Kilmer married Aline; they had five children. In 1911 Kilmer's first volume of poetry, entitled A Summer of Love, was published to acclaim. In 1913 he joined The New York Times, also writing for The Nation and The New York Times Sunday Magazine. The fame his writings brought him earned him an entry in Who's Who.
Although married and with children, Kilmer volunteered for service in 1917 following America's entry into World War I. Enlisting as a private with the 7th Regiment, National Guard in New York, he sought and received a transfer shortly afterwards to 165th Infantry (part of the famed Rainbow Division).
While in training at Camp Mills, Kilmer was appointed Senior Regimental Statistician and, once on the Western Front in France, he earned promotion to Sergeant and was posted to the Regimental Intelligence Staff as an observer. In this post he would spend many dangerous nights out in No Man's Land gathering tactical information.
It was while out scouting for enemy, machine guns near Ourcq, that Kilmer was shot through the brain on 30 July 1918. He was aged 31. He was posthumously awarded the French Croix de Guerre.
Kilmer's best-known poem today is Trees (reproduced below), written in 1913. In it he demonstrated his deeply-held affinity for nature and for God. Although he intended to write a book based on his experiences on the Western Front, his early death denied him the opportunity; he nevertheless wrote numerous war poems, one of which, Prayer of a Soldier in France, is reproduced below.
A collection of Kilmer's work - Poems, Essays and Letters in Two Volumes - was published after his death in 1918. He was killed in World War I on July 30, 1918 and his grave site is in the Oise-Aisne Cenetary, Fere en Tardenois, France. Following are three poems from this collection.
I think thatI shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is pressed
Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
Prayer of a Soldier in France ( 1918)
My shoulders ache beneath my pack
(Lie easier, Cross, upon His back).
I march with feet that burn and smart
(Tread, Holy Feet, upon my heart).
Men shout at me who may not speak
(They scourged Thy back and smote Thy cheek).
I may not lift a hand to clear
My eyes of salty drops that sear.
(Then shall my fickle soul forget
Thy Agony of Bloody Sweat?)
My rifle hand is stiff and numb
(From Thy pierced palm red rivers come).
Lord, Thou didst suffer more for me
Than all the hosts of land and sea.
So let me render back again
This millionth of Thy gift. Amen.
The bugle echoes shrill and sweet,
But not of war it sings today.
The road is rhythmic with the feet
Of men-at-arms who come to pray.
The rose blossoms white and red On tombs where weary soldiers lie;
Flags wave above the honored dead And martial music cleaves the sky.
Above their wreath-strewn graves we kneel,
They kept the faith and fought the fight.
They plunged for Freedom and the Right.
May we, their grateful children, learn Their strength, who lie beneath this sod,
Who went through fire and death to earn At last the accolade of God.
In shining rank on rank arrayed, They march, the legions of the Lord; He is their Captain unafraid,
The Prince of Peace. . . who brought a sword.
Joyce Kilmer Unit 25, Ladies Auxiliary, American Legion came into being a couple of months later and the charters of both organizations were signed on the same night at a joint meeting of the Legion Post and its Ladies Auxiliary. Service as the first honorary President of Unit 25, Ladies Auxiliary was Mrs. Manie Kilbum Kilmer, the mother of Joyce Kilmer. Until her death on the early morning of New Years Day, 1932, Mrs. Kilmer took a very active interest in the doing of Unit 25 and the Christmas week before her demise attended the Christmas party for children at the post in spite of a slight illness at the time.
After the war, the women of Unit 25 had covered dish pot luck suppers all the time at the post home. Many members attended on a regular basis. They had many members who were judges in the court system. Harry Van Pelt was the post caretaker and kept the post home very clean. Every Sunday, three federal agents from the nearby Camp Kilmer came in and socialized with the members.
In 1966, the post indicated that it needed a larger facility for its post headquarters. They began looking for someone to take over their current building, the former Joyce Kilmer homestead. The post tried to raise money to preserve the building, but when this failed, officers said the building would have to be razed. The structure was once the home of William Franklin, the last royal governor of New Jersey.
As indicated in the January 1967 edition of the Kilmer Report, the Post 25 Newsletter, Post 25 is launching a campaign to enlarge the Building Fund. When the post initially announced it wanted new quarters, its officers offered the Kilmer house to anyone who would move in and restore it.
The New Brunswick City Commissioners then in office considered relocating it to Buccleuch
Park, but the route it would have had to travel made this an impossible job for house-movers.
In the February 1967 edition of the Kilmer Report, it was noted that the post was “in receipt of heartening news last month when State Conservation Commissioner Roe announced that the State of New Jersey would buy the Joyce Kilmer site in a move to preserve the birthplace of Joyce Kilmer as an historical heritage for the citizens of the state and of the country for that matter.”
“The news was especially gratifying to the membership as concern for its preservation has
stymied the plans of the Post to build a new Post home. Plans have been in the offering for several years now, but the members were striving to preserve the home that for many years had been ex-officio retainers for posterity. We think that Post 25 deserves a vote of thanks for its patience in that matter. Tearing down the home to make room for a new home was an easy way out. But at a big sacrifice in time and membership, the Post held out for the sake of an attempt to preserve the home. For this we say: ‘Hats off to Post 25”’
As of the June 1967 Kilmer Report, the Post 25 building fund had $21,485.00. “Much more is needed if Post 25 is to get that much needed new Post home.” Every month since January, when the Building Fund was first started, the Kilmer Report had a coupon in each newsletter, urging the members to send in a dollar or two.
On Saturday night, July 29, 1967, the 1967 - 68 Installation of officers was held at 8:00 P.M. in the Bayard Street Presbyterian Church. Frank Facchini took over as Commander. This year, the Post Annual Picnic was held at Johnson Park, Sunday, August 13. Tickets were $2.50 per adults and $'1.00 per child under 16.
The headlines on the November 1967 Kilmer Report read, NEGOGIATIONS ON SALE UNDERWAY. “The sale in the headline refers to the pending sale of the Post 25 home to the State of New Jersey as the first step towards the preservation of the site as a shrine to the memory of the great poet Joyce Kilmer, namesake of Post 25.
“We are happy to report that on Thursday, October 26, the Post Committee concerned with the building of a new home for Post 25, met in Trenton with state officials in negotiations for the same of our present home to the state for the purpose stated above.
“According to reports brought to the attention of your reporter the committee brought back glad tidings . . . We can honestly say that it looks good . . . The Post and the state seem to be in accord as to a reachable price for property, and it is just a matter of time for all details to be ironed out. State officials intimated that we should expect a final affirmation within the next sixty days.
“The long awaited goal of a new Post home is now not far off . . .”
The Home News, New Brunswick’s hometown newspaper, reported the following, “On December 12, 1967, Post 25 and the New Jersey Department of Conservation & Expansion Development reached an agreement when the Joyce Kilmer home at 17 Godwise Avenue (later called Joyce Kilmer Avenue) will become an historic site and maintained by the state. The property was sold to the state for $24,000.
The January 1968 Kilmer Report headlines reads, CONTRACT OF SALE SIGNED BY POST. “At the meeting of December 12, 1967, members present voted unanimously to accept the offer of the State of New Jersey for the sale of Joyce Kilmer home at a price of $24,000.
“A resolution was passed authorizing Post officers to sign contract of sale for the present Post quarters. Commander Frank Facchini and Adjutant Frank Marrone signed the contract of sale in order to institute sale proceedings. The final turning over of deed is to take place within 180 days, during which time necessary title search will be made by state authorities. “The Building Committee is now in the process of searching for a suitable site on which to build a new Post headquarters, an effort is being made to acquire property on Joyce Kilmer Avenue as a first choice. Should this prove fruitless, the Post will consider other possible locations.
“An effort is being made to buy some city owned property. In as much as the Post cooperated with city and state officials in a laudable effort to preserve the shrine, it is the hope of Post officials that the city will sell to the Post a sufficient site on which to construct the new Post headquarters.
“New sites will be considered at future meetings as they come up for discussion. Attend your
meetings to voice your opinion in this matter.”
The March 1968 Kilmer Report reports, “Although the state has not finalized the purchase of our present headquarters, they are now in the process of title search . . . And as soon as that is complete, closing will take place.”
The May 1968 Kilmer Report had the following update. “A delegation of members from the
Building Committee of Joyce Kilmer Post 25 met with the city Commissioners on Friday, April Topic, Possibility of the Post purchasing city owned land to be used as a site for the new Post headquarters. The committee pointed out to the powers that be, that acquisition of private land for that purpose is well nigh impossible as vacant land of private ownership, and of area large enough for our purposes is practically non existent in New Brunswick.
“The Commissioners regarded our problem in a very sympathetic manner and promised to cooperate with the Post to the very best of their ability and of course within the limitations of the bounds placed on them as regards the best interests of the city.”
“On July 3, 1968, members of Joyce Kilmer post 25 of The American Legion were looking for a new headquarters. Since the sale of their former meeting place, Joyce Kilmer’s birthplace, to the state of New Jersey for a historical shrine, the post had been without a home. The post estimated that it would need three quarters of an acre with adequate parking space for their new headquarters. The post had approximately 300 members at that time, many of them were World War I Veterans.”
The Home News had the following article, “On July 5, 1968, the state finally took position. Payment had been delayed because of the end of the state’s annual budget. Now that a new fiscal year had begun, payment was expected to be made shortly. The American Legion post would use the funds to relocate its headquarters from this historic building.
In July, the post again elected Frank Facchini as Commander and the installation of officers took
place on Saturday, July 27 at the Bayard Street Presbyterian Church, at 8:30 P.M.
The headlines of The Kilmer Report, February 1969 was POST DENIED LAND. “Post 25 hopes for a suitable building site in New Brunswick were temporarily given a setback when what the Post had thought was a firm commitment for a parcel of land on Home News Row fizzled out. Officers of the Post had felt so sure that the land deal would be closed that they received the nod of the membership at the November meeting to acquire an option to buy an adjacent lot to the city owned property which when combined would have given the Post an acre of land on which to build . . . Plans were to buy from the city a parcel approximately three quarters of anacre in size, combine it with the property bought from a private source and away we go. Rude awakening came when Commander Frank Facchini pressed for a solid affirmation from Commissioners and was told that the Post could not purchase the city land.
“Building Committee is reported to be so perturbed over city’s refusal to help the Post relocate in
a decent setting that it is considering relocation out of town.”
February 1970 Kilmer Report article, AMERICAN LEGION BASEBALL BACK AT POST 25 NOW. “After a lapse of many years Joyce Kilmer Post 25 will once again sponsor a baseball team in the Middlesex County American Legion Baseball League. Commander Bill Kaye has appointed Bob Lisher as the Baseball chairman at Post 25, and Bob is busily making arrangements to field a team which will play its home games in New Brunswick. He is hoping for the wholehearted support of the post members in this very important program of The American Legion.”
In early 1970, while they were still looking for a new headquarters location, Mike Puskus, who
was the Finance Officer, mentioned that Post 25 had a financial balance of $98,000.
The February Kilmer Report headlines were LAND IN SIGHT! “On Saturday, December '12th, we signed a contract to purchase land on which to construct our new post headquarters. The site comprises an area of one and one third acres, and is situated on Joyce Kilmer Avenue on the southerly side of, and adjacent to the Farmers Market property. Although the future site of the new post home does not have direct frontage on Joyce Kilmer Avenue, we will have a twenty foot driveway leading to the main part of the property which begins at a point 200 feet from the avenue, and extends all the way back to the Pennsylvania Railroad. The new site is located directly opposite the Pantry Pride Shopping Center and sits on high ground overlooking Joyce
“The terms of the contract of sale call for final closing when the property has been subdivided, when a variance to build out new post home on the site has been obtained and when approval of the transfer of our club liquor license to the new premises has been granted. Upon the fulfillment of all of the conditions listed above, the post will pay the full purchase price of the property. We are now in the process of applying to the various city agencies for approval of our anticipated move. We hope to acquire the deed to the property by March 15 at the latest. And so after many years of foundering on the seas of frustration in the matter of a lot on which to build our new post, we can say, land is in sight!”
In the same edition of The Kilmer Report was the article FULL SPEED AHEAD!. “The Building Committee is fully determined that Post 25 have a new home to move into before the year is out, preferable before the onset of another winter. They are just as determined that our new quarters be something that we can all be proud of. With that in mind we are going to need additional monies. There will be a special meeting on Friday night, February 12 at 8 P.M. to discuss a fund raising program for a new building. We call upon every interested member of the Post and Auxiliary to attend. We especially welcome the attendance of our more influential
members to aid us in this project.
One thing I continuously see, as I read all the old Kilmer Reports, is about every other month there is a fund raising dinner. Here’s one, CORNED BEEF AND CABBAGE DINNER, SATURDAY, MARCH 13. In the May 1971 Kilmer Report, there was the following, “New Building Committee reported at last meeting that the Variance Board of New Brunswick is to rule on property the post wishes to acquire on Monday night, May 24th. Favorable ruling at that time would be followed up by search and purchase.
“In view of the fact that the Post intends to build a new post home, membership is notified that a
proposal to raise yearly dues will probable be voted on at next meeting.”
The frustrations continue for the Building Committee. Reported in the October 1971 edition of the Kilmer Report, “Joyce Kilmer Post 25 suffered another frustrating blow in its long struggle to find a piece of land in New Brunswick on which to build a new post headquarters. The latest rebuff was in the form of the refusal of the New Brunswick Board of Adjustment to grant a subdivision on the parcel of land which the post was attempting to purchase. Without the sought
after subdivision the plans for building could not be carried out. It means that the post must seek
other land on which to build. The search must begin anew. The plot of land in question represented just about the last hope of the post for a site in New Brunswick.
“The Board of Adjustment gave as its reason for the turndown the belief that it did not want to create two odd sized lots. Testimony of post officials that the Board’s granting of the subdivision was the last hope for Joyce Kilmer Post 25 to remain in New Brunswick was not of sufficient importance to the Board for reaching a decision favorable to the post. It ruled against the post.
“Because of this latest turndown by an official agency of the City of New Brunswick, much of the meeting of September 28 was devoted to a discussion of moving out of New Brunswick. The Building Committee has a commitment as a result of a past vote to find land outside of New Brunswick if land could not be found in New Brunswick within a three month period. That time has long expired. The Building Committee has now been empowered to seek land outside of
New Brunswick. It will present options at future meetings.
Then in the November 1971 edition of the Kilmer Report, the front page read NOTICE - IMPORTANT - NOTICE. “This is official notification that at the regular meeting of Tuesday, November 23 at 8:30 P.M., the following propositions will be voted on:
- That Joyce Kilmer Post 25 of The American Legion of New Brunswick, N.J. merge with Perry Worthge Post 173 of Milltown, N.J. to form an American Legion Post to be known as Joyce Kilmer Post 25 of The American Legion of Milltown, N.J.
- That the entire assets of Joyce Kilmer Post 25, American Legion of New Brunswick be combined with the entire assets of Perry Worthge Post 173 of The American Legion in Milltown, N.J. for the purpose of erecting a new building in Milltown, N.J. which shall be the headquarters of the proposed Joyce Kilmer Post 25, American Legion of Milltown, N.J.
- That the officers of Joyce Kilmer Post 25, American Legion of New Brunswick, N.J. be empowered to take whatever steps as necessary to affect the proposed merger of Joyce Kilmer Post 25, The American Legion of New Brunswick, N.J. with Perry Worthge Post 173, The American Legion, Milltown, N.J. for the purpose of creating the Joyce Kilmer Post 25, American Legion of Milltown, N.J.
J. Kaye, Adjutant.
Also in the November 1971 edition was the article entitled THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW. “In recent weeks the home of Joyce Kilmer Post 25 in New Brunswick has been subjected to attacks of vandalism which have made it impossible to continue operations there. Membership
voted at meeting of October 12th to vacate premises as soon as possible. The Post is in the
process of vacating premises with January 1, 1972 set as target date for completion of vacating of premises. Windows are boarded up, but we are still operating at 17 Joyce Kilmer Avenue. Bar is still open till stock is used up and all meetings will be held there until further notice.”
Front page of the Kilmer Report, January 1972 reads NOTICE - IMPORTANT - NOTICE. “At the regular meeting of November 23, 1971 the members present at the meeting voted by 37 to 11 to merge with the Perry Worthge Post 173 of Milltown to form a new post to be known as the Joyce Kilmer Post 25 of Milltown, NJ. On the same night the members of Perry Worthge Post 173 of Milltown voted to merge with Post 25 of New Brunswick for the purpose of forming the new Joyce Kilmer Post 25, The American Legion of Milltown, N.J.
“A resolution to that effect was submitted to the County American Legion, who took it to a regular meeting of the Department of New Jersey Executive Committee of The American Legion on Saturday, December 18. The merger was approved by the Department of New Jersey American Legion. We are now awaiting the issuance of a new charter by the National Executive Committee of The American Legion. The merger of the two posts will be an established fact as soon as the new charter is issued.
“The next regular meeting of Joyce Kilmer Post 25 is scheduled to be held at the meeting rooms of Hose Company No. 1 Firehouse at 40 Cottage Avenue in Milltown. For those of you unfamiliar with Milltown, Cottage Avenue runs off Main Street by the Esso Station on Main St. Turn into Cottage Avenue and the Firehouse is right up the street. The date of the meeting is Tuesday night, January 25, 1972 at 8:30 P.M. Mark that date and time on your reminder pad. It is important that every member who can make it attend this very important meeting.
“The meeting will be a joint one of Post 25 and Post 173. If a new charter for Joyce Kilmer, Post 25 has been issued by the meeting date, the meeting will certainly take up the mechanics of establishing the new post, election of officers and designation of charter members of the new post. Make it your business to attend.
“We are especially interested in the attendance of skilled construction men who can be of help in the building of our new post headquarters. We are talking of plumbers, electricians, masons, carpenters, etc. We have a beautiful site on John F. Kennedy Boulevard in the heart of Milltown. We have enough money to start. We have the enthusiasm of members of both posts who wish to see a strong Legion post. All we need is the cooperation of all our members. We are definitely going to put up the nicest Legion post in Middlesex County, one that you can point to with pride
in your membership. Jump in now. Help do it right.”
Past Post Commanders of Post 25, New Brunswick, NJ
J. Vincent O’Grady 1929 - 1930
History of The American Legion, Joyce Kilmer, Post 25, Department of New Jersey
Post 173, Milltown
Members of two Milltown families of long standing were casualties of World War I. Spencer Perry was killed in the battle of the Argonne in France and George Worthge fell to a fatal illness while in the service of his country. Thus when the local American Legion Post 173 was chartered on April 1, 1922, their names were selected for the title of the newly formed organization. Fifteen veterans of that war signed the charter, making it the first group in Milltown to be dedicated solely for military veterans.
Under the leadership of their first Commander, Edgar Walters, the group met in various places until they finally settled on the Cottage Avenue Firehouse as a permanent meeting place. Although there is no record of the organization actually acquiring ownership of their own post, the members were busily engaged in raising funds for a site. Their efforts culminated in the ownership of the land at 4 J. F. Kennedy Drive.
Unlike their brother organization, Post 25, the Legionnaires of Post 173 did not have a Ladies Auxiliary to work with until the formation of its Unit 173, Ladies Auxiliary in 1929 when the first charter was issued to 11 charter members. A second charter was issued by the national organization of The American Legion Auxiliary on May 18, 1931. The Ladies Auxiliary also held their meetings at the Cottage Avenue Firehouse as well as at the homes of individual members.
Post 173 members were proud of their member, the Reverend Frederick J. Holloran, former pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Church. Father Halloran served as Middlesex County, Department of New Jersey, as well as the National Chaplain of The American Legion which office he held in 1971.
Scrapbooks of Post 25 record the rivalry on the baseball field of Post 25 and Post 173 in 1930 when the teams they sponsored battled for the Middlesex County American Legion Baseball Championship. The New Brunswick Post 25 team won two straight for the title.
Past Post 173 Commanders*
Edgar Walter - 1st Commander
Joseph T. Hoefner James V. Cockerill Daniel Crabiel Everett Ryno Mike Kulthau George Hofer
Henry C. Hartlander Henry F. Smith George Wamsdorfer
Herman Fahrenholz Charles F. Van Liew William J. Goodman Earlen R. Krause
Walter L. Simpson Everett P. Gardella Michael F. Nikola William Gerhartz Joseph Cooper John Meseroll William J. Goff Louis A. Johnson Chester Galbraith
Charles H. Bradford Joseph Gasper Theadore Tischhauser Charles Riva
Lauren Poulsen David B. Crabiel Rinaldo DeLuca
John Bradley Sr. - last Commander of Post 173
* No known dates are available of when these people were Commanders of Post 173
History of The American Legion, Joyce Kilmer, Post 25, Department of New Jersey
Post 25, Milltown
The membership of Joyce Kilmer Post 25 had been trying in vain to buy a parcel of land in New Brunswick on which to build a new post home. Post 173 of Milltown owned the land at 4 J. F. Kennedy Drive in Milltown on which a new post headquarters of the Joyce Kilmer Post 25 now stands, but back in 1971 it was just vacant land. The membership had the desire to build a Post home, but they did not have sufficient funds to build one. It was agreed by authorized committees of the two posts that the two organizations would pool their resources to build a new post on the land owned by the Milltown post. It was further agreed to simplify the merger by the process of transferring the New Brunswick charter to Milltown, giving up the Milltown charter, and the new post absorbing the membership of both posts.
A resolution to that effect was submitted to the County American Legion, who after its approval, passed it on to the Department of New Jersey American Legion, where at a state meeting on Saturday, December 18, 1971, made the merger official.
The following appeared in The Home News. “On December 18, 1971, Post 25 and Post 173 merged into a single entity located in Milltown and the merged Post retained the number of 25. The American Legion Located in Milltown, New Jersey was Post #173. It was on December 18, 1971 that the two Posts merged. They kept the designation of Post #25 and located itself in Milltown, New Jersey.
The Department of New Jersey American Legion was very interested in this merger, because this was the first time in New Jersey that there was any merger between two posts. They wanted to learn from this experience to see what worked and what did not work.
Serving as the last Commander of New Brunswick Post 25 was Frank Marrone, while Margaret Cuthbertson presided as the last President of Unit 25 Ladies Auxiliary. The late Warren Davison was the last Commander of Post 173, Milltown, and his wife Lillian the last President of Unit
173. The merging organizations decided to retain the Post 25 Officers until the first election of
the combined posts.
The first election of the combined posts resulted in the election of Frank Marrone as the
Commander and Nora Rathbun as the President of the Unit 25, Ladies Auxiliary in Milltown.
The May 1972 edition of the Kilmer Report had the following. “This is the first issue of the Kilmer Report to be mailed to the combined membership of Joyce Kilmer Post 25 formally of New Brunswick and Perry Worthge Post 173 of Milltown. From now on and forevermore we are all members of Joyce Kilmer Post 25 of Milltown. On behalf of the officers of Joyce Kilmer, Post 25 your editor wishes to extend a warm welcome to all out members whether they be in New Brunswick, Milltown or Oskosh. We welcome and urge your participation in all affairs of
Post 25. Long may we prosper together.”
The next article in the May 1972 edition read, “In accordance with the by-laws of Post 25, this is formal notice to membership that at the meeting of Tuesday, May 9 there will be first open nominations tended for candidates to the office of Commander, Senior Vice Commander, 3
Junior Vice Commanders, Finance Officer, Chaplain, Sergeant-at-Arms and two vacancies on
the Board of Trustees.
“The meeting of May 9 will be held at the Highland Park Post 88 on Raritan Avenue in Highland Park at 8:30 P.M. At meeting night of Tuesday, May 23 final nominations and elections will be held for the above mentioned officers. The meeting of May 23 will be held at the Firehouse on Cottage Avenue in Milltown at 8:30 P.M. A word of caution. DO NOT park in the Firehouse parking lot. Those spaces are reserved for fireman ONLY! Parking is available on streets around the firehouse. Please attend.”
Another article in the same edition reads NEW BUILDING. As of this writing architects were working on plans for the new building for Post 25 in Milltown. As soon as the architects have the plans completed to the satisfaction of the Building Committee, the building permit will be applied for and away we go.”
Construction of the new home of Joyce Kilmer Post 25, American Legion of Milltown, N.J. began on June 3, 1972. Completion of the shell of the building by professionals was accomplished in the last part of December, 1972. At that point the members of Joyce Kilmer Post 25, lacking the funds to have the building completed by professional builders, took on the task of completing the building with volunteer help within our own organization. With our blood, sweat and tears we have created the finest American Legion post in the state of New Jersey. The Joyce Kilmer Post 25, The American Legion and Joyce Kilmer Unit 25, Ladies Auxiliary proudly dedicated this new building to better help them serve the community, state and nation in the finest traditions of The American Legion.
The July 1972 edition of the Kilmer Report reads “FLASH, THIS IS IT! DIG WE DID! Let it be duly recorded that in this year of our Lord designated as 1972, and on the day of July 3rd in this year, there did commence the building of the new post headquarters of Joyce Kilmer Post 25 of The American Legion on a peaceful street called John F. Kennedy Drive in a wonderful town called Milltown.
“Handling a huge digging machine like it were a teaspoon was a guy named Clifford Sigle, watched and abetted by Joseph Vadala, Post 25 member and overseer of the construction of our new building. Joe was there to guide Cliff on the grade line with the use of a surveyors instrument put into use periodically. The report is that Cliff was never more than an inch off at any time. The 50 by 100 foot excavation was completed by sundown. And away we go!
“The rest of this story will depend on the efforts of our membership and the interest shown in this building venture. The officers of this post sincerely believe that we can have the finest Legion post in this county and state. But your all out help is needed.
“We call on every able bodied member to lend whatever skills or labor he possesses to the completion of what can be a beautiful building. It depends on you. The more volunteer help that Joe can make use of, the finer materials that he can utilize in construction. We are asking that every one of our members who have a construction skill pitch in. We need carpenters, electricians, plumbers, masons, and just plain guys with strong backs. Whatever you can do will save the post hard earned mortgage dollars. Stop around anytime now at the job and see Joe. Skilled workmen who can lend a hand and maybe lure some non member colleague to go along
with them are requested to report to the July 27th meeting at the Firehouse on Cottage Avenue inMilltown at 8:30 P.M. to meet with Joe and tell him what he can count on in the way of help. We need your help to make our new post headquarters a place that can all be proud to call our own. Do your share. Pitch in. See you on the 27th.
Further on in this edition was the article BUILDING FUND Progress. Ever since the time when Post 25 New Brunswick wanted to find a new larger headquarters, the Kilmer Report has had an article entitled BUILDING FUND. In it were listed any one who donated a dollar or two or more toward the Fund. This edition read “The picture at your left is now for real.” It is a picture of a mason laying bricks. “As you read this, men like the one pictured are laying blocks on our new building. All of you who in the past have said you would donate when the building was
actually started now are called to task. Give. We need all the loot we can get our hands on for the
Building Fund. Each block costs about two dollars for material and labor to put up. How many blocks are you going to put up with your donations? All contributions 100 dollars and over will be permanently acknowledged in some fashion in our new building. All contributions to the American Legion are deductible from your income tax. Give now. We need your contributions to make this the finest Legion headquarters in the state. Let’s have a whole page of contributors listed in our next issue of the Kilmer Report.”
The page ended with the following article. “Joyce Kilmer Post 25 is going to participate in the Fourth of July celebration in Milltown this year for the first time. Our organization has been assigned the job of overseeing the fireworks. In addition we are going to march as a unit in the parade which will assemble at the comer of Harrison and Main in Milltown at 9:30 A.M. sharp on the fourth of July. Every Post member with an ounce of patriotism left in his body and the ability to walk two miles should participate in this show of patriotism. You need not be an active member or own a Legion uniform or hat. You are welcome to march with us if you have never marched before. Make this a must. See you on the 4th.”
The September 1972 edition of the Kilmer Report headline article was entitled TIME OUT! “It was time out for a couple of weeks while we waited for steel to come in to continue the construction of our new post home. But now the steel is in, in place, and the work continues. It is also time cut for you as a member to ponder your obligation to this project. The Building Committee issued an appeal in their last bulletin for contributions to the Building Fund in order that we may be able to finish construction of what is to be the finest American Legion post in the state of New Jersey. We are working on a building which when complete, you as a member will be proud to refer to as your American Legion post. We did receive some contributions. Not enough. If you have not already donated to your post Building Fund, please do so as soon as possible. To give you an idea of what we are trying for, our architects tell us that the building will be worth $250,000 dollars when complete. Remember that all donors of 100 dollars and over will have their names permanently recorded in the building in some fashion. We need the money now. The sooner we receive your contributions, the sooner we will be able to complete
our building.. Mail your Building Fund obligation now.”
The next article read “At the regular meeting of September 26 at the Firehouse on Cottage Avenue in Milltown at 8:30 P.M. a vote will be taken on a resolution to empower the officers of the post to enter into an agreement with the Middlesex County Bank of North Brunswick on the matter of a mortgage for the purpose of finishing construction on our new building now in the
process of being constructed on John F. Kennedy Drive in Milltown. All members are urged to
be present to vote on this very important matter.”
The December 1972 edition of the Kilmer Report, had A MESSAGE FROM THE COMMANDER. “I deem it an honor to be your Commander for the 1972 - 1973 Legion year. The year 1971 - 1972 in which the post was declining was suddenly brightened when we joined with a post in similar straits to form a stronger unified organization. Perry Worthge Pos 173 gave up its charter which it held for 50 years, steeped in struggle and historical significance. Joyce Kilmer Post 25 moved from one city to another. There with the cooperation of members of both posts we are building a new Post home, where together the aims of The American Legion will be carried out in strength. This old post home was vacated and procedures were necessary to unite the two posts. With the cooperation of a few dedicated men, this was accomplished. We are now in the process of construction. The walls are up and the roof is about to go on. A great
deal of effort has been expended in the preliminary stages and a great deal more in the various stages of construction. We have met with several setbacks for one reason or another, which has caused some delay towards the enclosure of the building. If you attend future meetings which are held in the Firehouse on Cottage Avenue in Milltown, you will also know some of the issues
involved and the stumbling blocks encountered. There too you will be informed of the
tremendous cost of the project. You will also become aware of its needs. Some of these
problems can be overcome by your assistance:
- Attending meetings
- Paying your dues on time
- Participating in the new building by offering your services
- Contributing to the Building Fund to reduce our mortgage
- By making yourselves known what you can do and what you can offer to make the load
lighter for those few men who are dedicated to the cause of The American Legion.
“A true Legionnaire will carry on its program to make life a little easier and brighter for our veterans. To paraphrase the late John F. Kennedy: ‘Ask not what The American Legion can do for you. Ask what you can do for The American Legion.’ Frank Marrone - Commander”
I’m including word for word what was published in the Kilmer Report or from the local newspaper, The Home News. From this you can personally experience the excitement, pleasure, thrills and highs as well as the disappointments, sorrows, agony and pain that the members have experienced through these years of members of Joyce Kilmer, Post 25.
Continuing with the Kilmer Report December 1972, “construction on our new Post headquarters has now reached the stage where the membership can and must do a lot of the work. We must do the major portion of the finishing work in order to complete the building. You do not have to be a skilled mechanic to help out. We have enough volunteers with all the necessary skills needed to carry a good part of the work. We need the participation of unskilled members to lend a hand with light work to help out our skilled workers. Just carrying over a piece of two by four, handling up a screw driver or wrench to an electrician or plumber or just nailing a panel of sheet rock will be a big help to the fulfillment of our dream of a new building. There will be a million and one jobs like those mentioned above. Please report at the post every Saturday and Sunday morning or afternoon to see if you can help out that day. And as soon as we can get the heat
turned on we will be working evenings. Check the post each evening next month. If you see
lights, you know you can be of help.
“We are especially calling on our young Vietnam veterans to aid us in this. The post is being built with you in mind. We do not expect you to come in during the holiday season, but work will be done each January weekend.
“We wish to acknowledge the work already performed by the following volunteers working” Lew Fanek, Russell Fleming and Charles Booream have aided the post in their own professional ways. Joe Cuthbertson has been all over the building on numerous weekends with his welding torch, also without pay. Bill Kaye, Frank Marrone, Charles Riva and Chet Galbraith have reported regularly. Rollin Rathbun has been doing the sheet metal duct work with an assist from his son Rollin Jr. and Lauren Poulsen. Our paid overseer of the building Joe Vadala is most always present for the weekends - without pay. Frank Facchini and sons Robert and Frank Jr. have been putting up the steelwork with as assist from Joe Cuthbertson. Frank of course has the steelwork on a contract basis, but we can count on some volunteer help from him on the plumbing. Others who have put in some time are John McEvoy, Willian Thomson (who is going to supervise our electrical work).Peter Bantalucia, Norman Wollmann, Frank Bllar, Frank Toth and Charles Meisheid. Fran Vadala has gone out forycoffee a hundred times already and if I forgot to mention you (as I know I must have). Please remind me in time for next issue.”
January 1973 Kilmer Report article “You can bet that on just about any Saturday and Sunday you can come into our new building under construction and find Frank Marrone, Charles Riva, Bill Thomson, Rollin Rathbun, Joe Vadala, Frank Fachini, Joe Cuthbertson, Frank Toth, Frank
Ellar and Bill Kaye doing whatever they can do to get that new building finished. If we had
another ten like them, the job would be a shoo-in. In our last issue we inadvertently omitted Ronald Hastings and Joe Lindeman as helping on the new building. Joe also keeps an eye out on the post and does leg work during the week. Speaking of leg work Attorney Russell Fleming was out all hours of the night taking care of Post matters of a legal nature. The Post owes him a special note of thanks.”
The April 1973 Kilmer Report headlines were ALL ABOARD! POST 25 PAINT UP SPECIAL,
SATURDAY - APRIL 28, SUNDAY - APRIL 29, SATURDAY - MAY 5, SUNDAY - MAY
- “Calling all able bodied Post 25 men to report to the new post home at 4 J.F. Kennedy Drive in Milltown at 8 A.M., Saturday, April 28; Sunday, April 29; Saturday, May 5 and Sunday, May 6 for the purpose of painting our new home with waterproof paint in a two coat process requiring second coat to be applied one day after first coat. We need men. We need ladders, especially those in thirty foot sizes. We need a couple of trucks to transport borrowed ladders. We need 4 inch nylon brushes. Above all we need your dedicated aid in this most important project. We do not need any lame alibis as to why someone could not be there. If you are physically unable to paint, and if as in some cases you have some important matters to take care of, fine, we cannot fault you. But if you make it please bring a ladder.”
In the same edition, “Bill Thomson all smiles when the electrical inspector complimented him for fine electrical workmanship on new post. Bud Goodwin who also helped bring it about very happy that work passed first inspection.”
The April 1973 edition of the Kilmer Report, in an article entitled DONATIONS NEEDED! “It is estimated by the Building Committee that when the new building is completed at least ten thousand dollars will be needed to buy furniture and equipment with which to operate. That includes tables and chairs for the main hall and meeting rooms and the equipment including sinks, coolers, ice boxes, stoves and ice machine for the bar and kitchens. If all those who have yet to make a contribution would only donate twenty five dollars each, our problem would be solved. We now call on all who are going to contribute to do so, immediately as we must place
orders for furniture and equipment as soon as possible,
permanently recorded in post home.”100 dollars contributors will be
The May 1973 Kilmer Report headlines read WE WILL TRY AGAIN, SATURDAY, MAY 19; SUNDAY, MAY 20, NEW PAINT DATES. “Our painting project which was originally scheduled for April 28 and April 29 was rained out. Our painting project which was then rescheduled for May 5 and 6th was rained out. Never let it be said that a Legionnaire gives up. We shall try again on Saturday, May 19 and Sunday May 20.
“The paint operation is one that requires two consecutive working days. The second coat shall be applied the day following the first coat. We need the help of as many able bodies Post 25 members as can tear themselves away from their usual weekend pursuits to help the post in this most important project. In some cases this weekend pursuit is merely reclining in an easy chair watching a ballgame on the idiot box, or chasing a little white ball over 18 holes. We have no
objection to either pursuit, but just for once tear yourself away and donate a days work to your own American Legion post. The result will be a headquarters that you will be able to brag about for the rest of your life. Our post is in the process of shaping up as one of the finest in the country, but the dedicated few that are working every weekend to create something for your future enjoyment need your help now. Frank Facchini and Charles Riva can’t be painting and
helping on the plumbing at the same time. Bill Thomson and Bud Goodwin can’t be working on
the electrical system and painting at the same time. John Bradley II and John McEvey, another duo of regular weekend workers can’t do the paint job by themselves. And Rollin Rathbun has his hands full with ductwork operation. We need your help financially and physically. Come on out on My 19 and 20th. Bring a large size ladder if you have one. Bring some old rags. But if you have nothing else to bring, you can at least bring yourself to help your own Post 25 this time.”
The June 1973 Edition of the Kilmer Report had the following update. ALMOST COMPLETED. “They did it. They did it. The dirty dozen plus some others. They have nearly completed the painting on the outside of the building, and a more professional job you could not buy. The dirty dozen I refer to are Addison Bradford, Richard Best, Bud Goodwin, Bill Kaye, Frank Marone, Rollin Rathbun Sr., Lew Panek, Charles Riva, Frank Toth, Charles Meisheid, John Bradley II, and David Miller. These twelve have put in the most time on the paint job. They were helped also by Frank Bobroski and Bill Jackson Jr., Uncle Tony Nasdeo chipped in with some preparation help while Joe Lindemann was always around to run the necessary errands. Bud Compton and Lauren Poulsen spent one Sunday afternoon applying a much needed asphalt coating on the inside. Our man in charge of plumbing, Frank Facchini was
busy as usual in that department while Bill Thomson has kept busy on the electrical; Ronald Hastings, and Bill Clay are credited for helping on the painting. As building chairman my hat’s off to Addison Bradford, Bud Goodwin, Rollin Rathbun Sr., Frank Toth and Charles Riva. Of
the dirty dozen on the painting they were the dirtiest and I mean that in a most complimentary sense of a word very hard to be complimentary with. Dick Best and John Bradley II and Chet Galbraith were not much cleaner. They all worked hard under trying conditions, heat and all. Hell, with workers like that we can’t help but end up with the best damn American Legion post in the state of New Jersey. And lest I forget Dave Miller for his working on the construction of our new bar with the help of John Morrissey of Post 401. Let’s drink to that.”
Another article in the same edition read AND THE CHOW. “Those of you who failed to show for the paint details deserve to miss the good food served up by Anna Goodwin and Dorothy Goodwin. The best description I can think of is that we all went back for seconds. Nuff said.”
Then we find in the September 1973 Kilmer Report the following article, WANTED - HELP. “As you read this bulletin the work on our new building will be going into the final stages. We will be in the process of putting up the sheetrock base for the final paneling. Work will be going on every evening and every Saturday and Sunday. Pick your evening to work from 6:30 to 9:30 or pick a Saturday or Sunday, but pick some time to help us finish up the most beautiful American Legion Post in the whole state.”
The next article was entitled ROBERT WOOD JOHNSON. “At the regular meeting of June 26, 1973 the members present voted to name the main ballroom of our new building the Robert Wood Johnson Room in memory of the late illustrious member of Joyce Kilmer Post 25. As a result of this the Building Committee is determined to make this room as beautiful as possible in
order to befit the memory of a great man. To that end we are calling on our membership to
contribute as much as they can afford to truly make the Robert Wood Johnson Room of Post 25 a fitting tribute to the man who was a member of our post from 1948 to the time of his death. If you have not as yet contributed to the Post 25 Building Fund now is the time to do it. If you have already contributed you may wish to make an additional contribution to help us make the Robert Wood Johnson Room a glowing reflection of our pride in the fact that the late industrial giant was a member of this post of The American Legion. To start the ball rolling and to put his money where his mouth is your editor (along with his wife who already are 100 dollar contributors to the Building Fund) has made an additional 25 dollar contribution to help make the Robert Wood Johnson Room truly a room of beauty. Make your contribution now.”
November 1973 - NEW BUILDING REPORT. “We are now in the sheetrock stage of our building construction and most of the sheetrock is up. Those areas which will have wallpaper (top four feet of upstairs main hall and top two feet of the downstairs area) are nearly all spackled. All bathrooms are now being prepared for this installation. Volunteer workers are also at work installing the ceilings. This is not to say that we no longer need help. On the contrary we need all the help we can get. Our problem is that those of our members who have worked hardest are also among our busiest with personal chores. But we are asking them to give just a little bit more time for another couple of months. With their continuing help we shall complete our new building in time for the Past Presidents and Past Commanders Dinner Dance on March 2, 1974.
“With apologies to anyone that I may overlook I would like at this time to commend the following: Steve Poppy (he will kill me for mentioning him) gave many Sunday afternoons on spackle job. Addison Bradford punches post clock regularly several evenings a week and sometimes on Saturday. Frank Facchini gave many hours of time, and almost single-handedly did the plumbing. Austin Edwards of Milltown, a non member, helped Frank out on several
evenings. Frank Toth also helped on plumbing, as did Joe Guthbertson. Bill Thomson carried
main load of electrical work with some assistance from Bud Goodwin who also got non member Whitey Allinder to help out a bit. Lew Panek and Frank Bobroski always reliable as well as Dick Best who always managed to get a dirty job when he reported. Not intentional Dick. It’s just the way the ball bounces or maybe there is no “nice” job in a building project. Frank Marrone and Charles Riva are always around to help. Dave Miller and John McEvoy were always helpful. John Bradley II has been a tremendous help with his particular skill. Chet Galbraith is worthy of
mention as well as Joe Sgroi in the masonry line. Tony Neyerhofer big help in painting. John Morrissey a member of Post 401 building our bar. “Spike” Adochio wired our phone system. Vince Bellizia of Bellizia Brothers Excavating spent a whole day grading the outside of the building. Rollin Rathbun, participated in many aspects, he worked all floors. “Turk” Reuse a new member reports regularly, as does Joe Linderman. Thanks fellas.”
The January 1974 Kilmer Report headlines read HEAR YE! The Building Committee reports that approximately fifteen thousand dollars more will be needed to complete and fully equip our new building. We are therefore issuing a last call for donations to the Building Fund. If you have not already contributed, please dig now and make your contribution. If you have already donated, please try to make an additional contribution. All contributions will be published in the next issue of the Kilmer Report. Remember that all contributions of 100 dollars and over will be permanently recorded in our new building. NOTE: With the above in mind the Executive
Committee at the meeting on January 6, 1974 voted to recommend that the post increase the
mortgage on the new building by fifteen thousand dollars. A resolution to that effect will be voted on at the regular meeting of January 22, 1974 to be held at the new post headquarters starting at 8 P.M. FURTHER NOTICE: A vacancy has been created in the office of Trustee (Two year term) by the death of Joe Linderman last month. There will be nominations and
election to fill this office at the regular meeting on January 22, 1974 to be held at the post home
starting at 9 P.M. FURTHER NOTICE: Due to the deadline imposed by our March 2nd Past Commanders and Past Presidents Dinner Dance to be held at our new headquarters on J. F. Kennedy Drive, we are asking all of our volunteer workers to please report any and every free evening or Saturday or Sunday to ready the new home for our first affair. We ask that you go all out till March 2nd and do all your resting after that date. Due mention will be made in the next issue of the Kilmer Report of all those who have worked so hard to complete the most beautiful American Legion building in the state of New Jersey.”
The next article in the same edition was entitled YAHOO! “Our first affair in the new post home will be held on Saturday night March 2nd starting at 6:30 P.M. It is the annual Past Commanders and Past Presidents Dinner Dance and will be for the benefit of the post Building Fund. Tickets are $10.00 a person and you may bring as many guests as you wish. Remember it is our first dinner dance in the new home, so get your tickets early.”
Mixing the work of strong backed amateurs with the blend of professional help within and outside of our membership, the building was completed enough to hold our first Past Presidents and past Commanders Dinner Dance on March 2, 1974.
The April 1974 edition of the Kilmer Report had as its headlines FLASH! BINGO! IS COMING TO POST 25! SPEAD THE WORD! 1000 DOLLARS IN PRTZF.S-STARTTNG MAY 3, 1974 - 8:00 p.m. EVERY FRIDAY NITE! AT OUR BRAND NEW AMERICAN LEGION HOME, MILLTOWN, N.J. OPPOSITE POST OFFICE, WE NEED WORKERS! WE NEED
CUSTOMERS! “Starting Friday night, May 3 at 7 P.M. and every Friday thereafter Joyce
Kilmer Post 25 is sponsoring Bingo in the Robert Wood Johnson Room of the new post headquarters. Charles Hudson Bradford had been named Chairman of the Bingo Committee and is now in the process of organizing a work crew for the Bingo games. Members of Post 25 and member of our Ladies Auxiliary will be the only ones permitted to work the Bingo. Therefore it is extremely important that enough people sign up with Chairman Bradford to assure at least two
full working crews in order to try to stagger the work detail to once each two weeks for those
who sign up. One of the most important ingredients for a successful Bingo operation is that
enough workers be present at each Bingo to take care of the service that our customers will need. You need not have any experience to work the games. We will train you. Bingo workers tell us that they have a lot of fun in the process of working Bingos.
“We cannot sell Bingo tickets in advance, but we would like to know just about how many of our own members of the Post or Auxiliary plan to attend and how many guests they think they can bring along. We would like to prepare for their attendance. Use the coupons below to express your intentions on both matters, either as workers or as players. We will see if we can reserve places for you and your guests, if you plan to attend as a player. Whatever you decide, you can attend the regular meeting of Tuesday, April 23rd and report to Chairman Hudson Bradford.”
The July 1974 Kilmer Report had the following article, “DEDICATION AND DINNER DANCE - SATURDAY, AUGUST 24, 1974. The long awaited dedication of our new building will take place on Saturday, August 24 and here is the schedule: 1:00 P.M. sharp - Ceremonies dedicating the new building will be held in front of the building. Following the dedication ceremonies a cocktail hour will be held in the first floor lounge until 3:00 P.M. At 6:30 P.M. - a dinner dance will be held in the Robert Wood Johnson Room of the new building. Tickets for the dinner dance will be on first come first served basis and will be limited in number. So be wise and get yours from your usual source as soon as possible. Members and their guests may attend all of the functions of the day. The price of the dedication dinner dance tickets will be twelve ($12.00) dollars per person. It will include dinner, set up and dancing. This is an historical event for Post 25. Once again, be wise, get your tickets now. Chairman Frank Facchini has a crew of ticket sellers. If you have any problem on tickets you can call Frank. Frank Marrone, Commander Charles Riva and Nora Rathbun or any Auxiliary Officers also have tickets.”
Left to right: ??????, ??????, Nora Rathbun, Charles Riva, ???????, Frank Fachini (in the back, his face is hidden behind the woman in the front row), Bill Kaye, ?????, ?????, ?????, ?????. Nancy Von Spreckeisen (standing in the audience with the red blouse
Left to Right: Standing: Charles Riva, Frank Fachini, Commander Bill Kaye (speaking), Sitting: ?????,
?????, Nora Rathbun
Left to Right: Helen Shivley, Bernedette Delasandro, Mary Perry (Current County President). ?????, Nora
Rathbun, Charles Riva (in the back), Frank Fachini (speaking), Bill Kaye (behind the American flag),
Legion Officers 1973 - 1974
Sr. Vice Commander Jr. Vice Commander Jr. Vice Commander Dr. Vice Commander Adjutant
Finance Officer Historian Chaplain Service Officer Sgt-At-Arms
First Vice President Second Vice President Secretary
Treasurer Historian Chaplain
Rollin E. Rathbun, Sr.
Frank Toth Addison Bradford Charles Meisheid Frank Marrone Michael Puskas Benjamin Cicciari
C. Hudson Bradford
Wallace Whiting Ronald Hastings
Auxiliary Officers 1973 - 1974
Mrs. Rollin Rathbun, Sr. Mrs. John Von Spreckelesen Mrs. Frank Marrone
Mrs. Charles Riva Mrs. Benjamin Cicciari Mrs. Lauren Poulsen Mrs. Charles Goodwin Mrs. William Thomson
Chairman Frank Facchini, Legion
Mrs Rollin Rathbun, Auxiliary
Charles Riva Chester Galbraith Charles I. Goodwin
Mike Graci, Legion
Mrs. Frank Facchini, Auxiliary
Rollin E Rathbun, Sr. Mrs. Elizabeth Mullis Mrs Frank Marrone Mrs. Harold Buckelew Mrs. Charles E. Goodwin
Dedication Dinner Dance, later the night of August 24. Left to Right: Mary Perry (current County Auxiliary President), Helen Riva, Charles Riva, Bill Kaye (current Post 25 Commander speaking), Frank Fachini, Elsie Fachini, ?????
Another article was entitled SOME MORE GOOD NEWS - BAR IS OPEN. For those of our members who enjoy a refreshing drink now and then we are glad to report that at long last the bar is open to members and their guests. At the present time the hours will be restricted to the evening hours of 7 to 11 and as patronage builds up hopefully the hours of opening will be increased. Bar Chairman Bill Kaye has issued a call for volunteers to man the bar until such
time at the bar operation can afford paid bartenders. If you can devote any evening, once a week
or once a month, please report to Commander Riva or Bill Kaye.”
Our own Mary Perry, who at the time was a member of Unit 332, Lawrence Harbor, was County Auxiliary President, at the time of the dedication of the new Post 25 home at 4 J. F. Kennedy Drive
quests may enjoy a buffet served up by the post and auxiliary at no charge to all attending.”
During those early years, the Social Committee held many Dinner Dances, Chinese Auctions, Membership balls, spaghetti dinners, bus trips and other social events. The Post was very active. There were many big band nights with the big bank of Bob Dey.
The folding doors in the upper hall cost $4,000 and a beam had to be installed to support the
The October 1975 edition of the Kilmer Report had the following article. “MICHAEL PUSKAS, The Passing of an Era, It is with deep sadness on the part of this writer to report to any one of our members who does not yet know that an era passed when we lost our beloved Finance Officer Michael Puskas on August 12, 1975. Mike as he was affectionately known by our membership was the ‘keeper of the monies’ for Post 25 for nearly 40 years. It was his
stranglehold and tight rain on the treasury that permitted this post in the merger with Post 173 to
have the down payment to build his dream of a new post home on land owned by Post 173 in Milltown. Consoling is the fact that Mike did live long enough to see the fruition of his efforts and died knowing that Post 25 would survive for a long time.
The Veterans Day program on November 11, 1974, was celebrated at the Post home with a POW-MIA RALLY that started at 8 PM. There was a program narrated by a former Vietnam Prisoner of War, Capt. Alan Kroboth, U.S. Marine Corps. Ret. who told of his fellow Prisoners of War that were still in Communist captivity in Indochina . . . Also in attendance were Member Board of Directors National League of Families of P.O.W.s and Mr. & Mrs. Michael Mayercik, parents of Captain Ronald Mayercik of Edison, who is still missing (as of this event date) in action in Vietnam. Mr. Michael Mayercik is a member of Joyce Kilmer Post 25. Also attending was Mr. and Mrs. Andres Ivan, parents of Captain Andrew Ivan Jr. of South River, still missing (as of this event date) in action in Veitnam. Mr. Andrew Ivan, Sr. is a member of Old Bridge Post 177, The American Legion.
In the December 1975 edition of The Kilmer Report was the following. “CHILDRENS CHRISTMAS PARTY, SUNDAY, DECEMBER 21, 2 P.M. SHARP AT POST HOME. On
Sunday, December 21 at 2 P.M. here in our new Legion home, the Post is sponsoring its first Christmas Party for the children and grand-children of Post 25 and Auxiliary members. Party Chairman Jim Mowery has lined up entertainment, goodies and gifts for all those attending. He
has even scheduled a visit by Santa Clause to pass out the presents which will be individually marked and presented by Santa himself. You can bet that if Jim is not busy getting out Christmas mail at the post office that Santa will look a lot like Jim. . .
In the February 1976 edition of The Kilmer Report was the following. “NOTICE TO MEMBERSHIP, Pursuant to the Constitution and By-Laws of Joyce Kilmer Post 25 of The American Legion, please be advised that at the regular meeting of January 27, 1976 at the Post
headquarters at 8 P.M., a vote will be taken regarding the purchase of property directly across the street from the post headquarters, with said property presently being utilized as parking area for post activities. A proposition had been approved by the Board of Trustees to purchase the
property, which will entail the assumption of a considerable mortgage by the Post. Details of the
proposed purchase will be gone into at the meeting for the purpose of enlightening all members who attend. Be advised that any vote taken at this meeting will be binding on the Board of Trustees.”
Mr. Lefkowitz, from Lefkowitz and Brothers, owned the land that is now the Post parking lot and pavilion. The Borough of Milltown wanted to buy his vacant land and put up a shopping strip mall for commercial trade. Mr. Lefkowitz did not what that to occur in Milltown, so he
approached the Post Executive Committee and said that he had this land and was willing to sell it to the Post for $105,000 and no interest. Col. John A. Bradley II and Past Post Commander Charles “Charlie” Riva met with him and they worked out an agreement of paying Mr.
Lefkowitz back over the following five years. He indicated that the Post could pay him back
whatever amount they wanted on whatever basis they could handle. The Post had dinners and many other fund raising activities to pay back the purchase of this land in three years. General Johnson, one of the Post members, donated $1,000 to get the activity started.
Also in the same edition was the following point of interest. “MUST BE MENTIONED, When a member or guest scores a perfect score of 300 on our brand new shuffle alley, what else can you do but report it. Which is to say that Harry Cunningham did it a couple weeks ago. And would you believe? He followed it up with a 299 next game.”
“SPECIAL EDITION of the Kilmer Report, FEBRUARY 1976. Post 25 proudly presents in a special appearance, March 3, 1976, Frank Sinatra Jr., in concert. Fresh from Record breaking performances at the main ballroom of the Frontier in Las Vegas and the top show spot in New York Persian Room of the Plaza, Frank Sinatra Jr. will present his Las Vegas act and will be backed up by the Larry O’Brien bank as in his regular act in Las Vegas. The first show is at 7:30
P.M. and the second show at 10:30 P.M. All seats will be reserved, the price of tickets is $6.00 per person per show, can be purchased at The American Legion at 4 J.F. Kennedy Dr. All advance sale tickets will be $6.00, tickets at the door will be $7.00”
The Kilmer Report, March 1976 headline was “COLOR GUARD COMPETITION, The “Las Banditas” Junior Color Guard, sponsored by Joyce Kilmer Post 25, is sponsoring a Color Guard Competition on Saturday, April 3, 1976 at 7:30 P.M. The competition at the St. Pius School, on
Metlars Lane, Piscataway. Fifteen Color Guard organizations will compete for prize trophies and
will travel from as far away as Baltimore, Maryland in order to compete.
“LAS BANDITAS”, composed of girls ranging in age from 10 to 20 is dressed in Spanish style uniforms. In 1975 they carried Post 25 colors in the Milltown, County and State parades, at Milltown, Jamesburg and Wildwood respectively. They also represented Joyce Kilmer Post 25 in
the indoor Drill Competition at Wildwood and at various Post functions throughout the year.”
Also in this edition was the following. HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMERICA, Your House and Bar Committee is pleased to announce at this time our BICENTENNIAL BALL to be held on the eve of the Declaration of Independence Day. Affair is to be held in our Post home on Saturday night, July 3rd starting with a buffet at 7:30 P.M., continuing with the BIG, BIG, SIXTEEN PIECE BAND OF BOB DEY, playing for your dancing and listening pleasure from 9 P.M. to 1 A.M.
Our own Bob Bowers who once was Russ Carlyle with the BLUE BARON ORCHESTRA is a featured vocalist with the band. One of his latest jobs was singing with the GUY LOMBARDO BAND when they came out to Franklin Township last fall.”
In the March 1977 edition of The Kilmer Report, the following announcement was made.
“NATIONAL COMMANDER, WILLIAM J. ROGERS, WILL BE AT POST 25 SATURDAY,
MARCH 26 FROM 3 TO 4 P.M. Post Commander Addison Bradford is pleased to announce that our own Post 25 will serve as the host post for the National Commanders visitation to central Jersey. The top official of The American Legion will be on a two day visit to New Jersey. He will visit south Jersey on Friday, March 25. Saturday morning, March 26 he will tour the northern part of Jersey. Saturday afternoon he will be at Post 25 to visit with central Jersey Legionnaires in a question and answer session in our lower hall. We urge our members to attend in force.”
In the May edition was the following “NATIONAL COMMANDRS VISITATION, The visit of National Commander William J. Rogers to our Post on Saturday, March 26, 1977 was a complete success according to the letters of thanks received from him by the Post and the Auxiliary. It was an honorable and memorable occasion for our Post and long to be remembered. Commander Addison Bradford wishes to thank all who participated in making it the success it was. He also wishes to thank Department Vice Commander Martin Monroe, County Commander Ralph Schwartz and his staff of County Officers who made it possible for our Post to be the host post on the National Commanders visit to Middlesex County. Worthy of not was the performance of our Las Banditas Color Guard who presented fine precision drill to welcome the National Commander. It was a day in which all the components of Post 25 can be proud of.”
Memorial Park, at the comer of Washington Avenue and J.F. Kennedy Drive, was the inspiration of Past Post Commander Bill Thomsom. When the time came for its dedication, the Post notified Dept, of this occasion and it just happened that the then National Commander was in New Jersey and they immediately planned on him being at the dedication ceremony.
The first Annual Clambake was held on Saturday, August 13, 1977 which included hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken, com on the cob, clams, crabs, all the beer you can drink, soda and ice cream for the kids, plus games and band music. The clambake started at 12 noon and ended when everyone had enough. It was held in Albert Avenue Park, Milltown. The price was $7.50 per person for adults and you can bring your own children up to the age of 12 at no extra cost.”
In the February 1978 edition of The Kilmer Report was the following. “SONS OF THE AMERICAN LEGION, Post 25 now has a chapter of Sons of The American Legion now operating. The son of any member of The American Legion is eligible to join. There is no age limit. SAL Chairman, Jack Weber and Harry Van Pelt are eager to sign up your son as a member.”
The May 1979 edition of The Kilmer Report had the following. “On Sunday, May 27th, Joyce Kilmer Post 25 of The American Legion will publish an ad in the Sunday Home News of New Brunswick, saluting the Vietnam veterans and calling for observation of Vietnam Veterans Week, from the period of May 28 through June 3rd. We are going to take out a full page ad and are asking for your participation. You can do so by taking the enclosed lined sheet and getting us as many names as you can at one dollar per name. Every one of your friends and acquaintances who give you that dollar will have his or her name printed in our ad. In the case
of other posts who we hope will participate, we will acknowledge the names of the post submitting the list of names. We are striving for an overwhelming number of names and guarantee that every name submitted to us with the dollar, will be printed. We believe that this recognition of the service rendered by the Vietnam veterans under extremely trying circumstances is long overdue.”
Also in this newsletter was the following. “VIETNAM VETERANS NIGHT AT POST 25, SATURDAY NIGHT, JUNE 2nd, Saturday night, June 2nd has been set aside as Vietnam Veterans night at Joyce Kilmer Post 25. The evening will begin with a Dutch treat cocktail hour from 7 to 8 followed by short appropriate ceremonies paying homage to all Vietnam veterans. There will be a couple of brief but interesting speeches on the subject of the Vietnam veteran.”
In the May 1981 edition of the Kilmer Report, we find “WORK PARTY A SUCCESS, On Saturday, February 21, John Messeroll and his Marauders attacked the old ceiling tile we had upstairs, removed it and replaced it with brand new tile. IN the process they cleaned the lights and heating equipment, making the upstairs hall brighten up and shine for our Bingo and Affairs
customers. The work party did themselves proud. In order to thank them properly we hereby list those taking part in the hard work. They were: John Meseroll, Charles McGowan, Ronny Marshall, Frank Bobroski, Bob Bowers, Mr. and Mrs. A1 Brack, Joan White, Mr. and Mrs. Howie Reed, Nick Filocco, Erwin Porter, Ambrose Czak, Erich Heine, Harry Cunningham,
Adrian DeWitt, John Sinko, Dave Miller, Dick Best, Hugh Harrold, Walt Jensen, John McPherson, Carl Widman, Frank Drugos, Charles Pulnick, Carl Rolfe, Dennis Madigan, Roy Syvertsen, Ted Davis, “Spike” Adochio, Bob Cotter, Vic Mayle, Joe Hackler, Tom Prindaville, Bob Brack, Ray Tarantola, Harold Stryker, Fred Grott, Steve Averan, Steve Szabo, Ben Poper,
George Hefferan, John Worth and George Nelson.” This is 45 volunteers. What a large number
to get together to assist in this much needed job.
Also in the same newsletter was “On Saturday, April 4 some of the same crew replaced the ceiling tile in our downstairs meeting hall. This group consisted of John Meseroll, John Sinko, A1 Brack, Ronny Marshall, Erwin Foster, Mr. and Mrs. Howard Reed, Joan White, Bob Bowerws, “Spike” Adochio, Dave Miller, Carl Widman, Larry Mattei and chef of the day, Lew Mattero, Congratulations and thanks to all for the two jobs well done.”
From the July 1983 edition of The Kilmer Report. “FIRE! FIRE! FIRE! In the early morning of Friday, May 27, a fire of very serious proportions took place at Post 25. Our entire bar area was gutted, with the smoke and soot damage extending to every nook and cranny of the building.
“The bartender on duty had closed the building at 1:15 A.M. A member coming into the Post at about 7:45 the next morning was confronted with what he could best describe as the likeness of a sauna bath in the lower level. He called the fire department immediately, but the fire had already burned itself out, along with the entire bar area. Reports of the event have it that the firemen responding to the call did not have to use any water. Water lines running in the ceiling area had
burst, creating steam which served to suffocate the flames. An airtight construction of the
building also came to some good, resulting in a denial of air to the fire, and thus helping to
confine it to the bar area.
“Estimates from contractors thus far indicate that the total damage will be in the $100,000.00
dollar neighborhood, which is an expensive neighborhood, indeed.
“The fire was of undetermined origin. Professional fire inspectors called in have not given us any
“So much for the bad news. Now for a look at a brighter side.
“We are hoping that our insurance will cover the major portion of the damage. But whatever the outcome of the settlement with the insurance carriers, your officers are determined to reconstruct the post into an even finer establishment than what we had before the fire. With the help of our membership, we can rebuild the Post into the finest one around. The Executive Committee has been holding weekly meetings to speed the process of recovery, and will meet as often as necessary to get the Post back into operation on a normal level again. We hope to be fully operational in September and are striving to resume Bingo before that date.
“Those are target dates. Every one involved is so determined.”
Then in the October Kilmer Report we read, “BACK IN BUSINESS, We are happy to inform our members that as of Friday, September 16, the Post was back in operation, although on a limited basis. We were able to hold Bingo that night, but our bar was not quite ready. Our bar is scheduled to reopen on a normal basis on Friday, October 7th. Bar hours will resume on the usual times of 7 to 12 on Tuesday through Thursday, 10:30 P.M. to 1 on Friday and 1 P.M. to 1
A.M. on Saturday.
“The bar area has been completely renovated from bare wall to bare wall. A new bar, new paneling and new refrigerating units have been installed. A new ceiling and new floor accentuate the newness of the bar area. The renovation is as yet not complete. Executive Committee in sessions has discussed plans for completion of back meeting room, which now has a new ceiling. Further discussions evolved around updating of area around fireplace into a modem lounge concept. Stay with us for a few surprises in the near future. We are as previously stated, determined to build our own Post 25 into one of the finest.
“Before we are finished with the renovation, the entire building will have taken on a new look, a
look that we all as members of Post 25 can justly be proud of.
“DESERVING OF MENTION, Your editor, as present Commander, charged with the responsibility of overseeing the process of renovation, wishes to thank the following people for doing much of the work needed to get us started, to keep us moving: John Bittay, Chuck Dullea, Jim Lyons, Larry Mattei, Ray Tarantola, Charles McGowan, John McPherson, Nick Distefano, Bob Bruck, Joe Sgroi, Steve Zolton, Ted Davis, Charles Riva, Ambrose Csak, Pete Lynch, Frank Facchini, Walter Preller, Geza Gyurinko, Walt Jennsen, Butch Hellinger, Milt Morris, Neil Lombardo, John Kovar and Howie Reed.
“SPECIAL MENTION must be made of the Four Musketeers, John Meseroil, Hohn Sinko, Pete Tomori and Bill Rispoli, who put in day after day, hour after hour, to do all the things that speeded up the renovation process.
“In all probability, I may have inadvertently left out a name or two. My apologies to you, and
calling it to my attention will be appreciated by me and made up in the next issue.
“To all of you mentioned and to any I may have slighted by the omission of names, my heartfelt thanks for a job well done. Bill Kaye, Commander of the best Post this side of Oskosh. P.S. Just a reminder that there is much more work to be done and the need for more volunteers to do it.”
An item of interest was published in the November 1986 Kilmer Report. “NO CHILDREN’S PARTY THIS YEAR, Due to circumstances beyond Post control, there will be no Children’s Christmas Party this year because of spiraling insurance costs which have skyrocketed from about $3,000 to about $15,000 dollars over the past three years. We cannot afford some very worthwhile things like we did in the past.”
The following article was in the February 1987 Kilmer Report “MILITARY ORDER OF THE PURPLE HEART, New Jersey Chapter Ten of the Military Order of the Purple heart is now holding its meeting at Post 25 on the 4th Wednesday of each month at 8 P.M. The organization of combat wounded veterans is headed by Commander Joseph Hems, a Post 25 member. Joe is Commander of Chapter 10 as well as being State Commander for the organization. Combat wounded veterans who are members of Post 25 are invited to join the order.”
“The Kilmer Report, June 1990, SPECIAL EDITION, RALLY AROUND THE FLAG,
THURSDAY EVENING, FLAG DAY, JUNE 14, TIME: 7 p.m. On this Flag Day, Thursday
June 14, Joyce Kilmer Post 25 will have special ceremonies honoring the symbol of our country.
“In view of the fact that a law passed by Congress to protect the Flag of the United States is now being reviewed by the United States Supreme Court, Flag Day this year takes on a special significance. The Supreme Court has heard arguments on the pros and cons of the Flag
Protection Act passed by Congress last year, and is now in the process of rendering a decision on the constitutionality of the new law. The American Legion is virtually certain that the Supreme Court will strike down the latest law enacted by Congress.
“In such an event The American Legion along with just about every major veteran’s organization will be prepared to call for an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to fully protect our cherished American Flag from those who would desecrate it in any way. It will also let the Supreme Court know once and for all that the American people want their Flag protected.
“In all of the arguments about laws protecting the Flag we mostly hear about the legalities of the law, whether or not it is speech, or action. No light is shed on what it means to the veterans who fought and died under that American Flag. It is about time that our lawmakers take into consideration the feelings of the veteran when he sees the American Flag burned. It is about time that they factor into their deliberations the anger and anguish suffered by many veterans who saw buddies die fighting for freedom under that American Flag.
‘It is to let these lawmakers and the general public know how we feel, that Post 25 is sponsoring this RALLY ROUND THE FLAG. In addition to short ceremonies honoring the Flag, we will have guest speakers from other veteran’s organizations.
“We are going to do our best to get media coverage of this event, so it is imperative that we have a good showing. Invite your friends and acquaintances to join us in this evening of rallying around our Flag. Pass the word that your Post of The American Legion is trying to do something to protect the Flag. Newly re-elected Commander Bill Mahon is counting on all of you to pitch in.“In addition to petition gathering, ask your friends to call and write to their Congressmen and to
our United States Senators Bradley and Lautenberg.
“The Supreme Court should be rendering its decision sometime in June, so let us be ready for
any ruling they may come up with. REMEMBER THURSDAY, JUNE 14 - - 7 P.M.”
It’s now 18 years later and Congress still can not make up their mind about passing a law to protect the desecration of the flag of The United States. All during this time, The American Legion has not given up the cause of Still Serving America by pressing Congress each session to
pass a law for this cause.
In the February 1991 edition of The Kilmer Report we find “A special congratulations to Post 25 member Joseph R. Hems of North Brunswick on his election as national Commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart at their National Convention in August 1991. Our apologies for not noting this in earlier Kilmer Reports. The membership of Post 25 wish Joe great success for the remainder of his term. We would also like to note that Commander Hems’ Aid-De-Camp is none other than our own Post 25 work-horse Bill Kaye.”
The March 1991 edition of The Kilmer Report had the following article of interest. “***
PROUD MOMENT ***, ON Wednesday, March 13, the plane carrying Rollin Rathbun 3rd home from his tour of duty in the Persian Gulf touched down at Shaw Airport in Sumter, South Carolina. Waiting for him there was his father, Rollin Rathbun 2nd. It was a proud moment for all the Rathbuns, including Nora Rathbun, the perennial Secretary of the Unit 25 Ladies Auxiliary and Rollin Rathbun Sr., long and hard working officer of Post 25 until illness slowed him down. Rollin 2nd, himself a proud veteran of Vietnam was the proudest of them all. Congratulations to all concerned. WELCOME HOME, ROLLIN 3rd.
Over the course of many years, the Post home has had its troubles. One such incident was when it was noticed that the back end of the building was getting a lot of water seeping in from the ground. What they determined was that the water was running off the roof of the garage located on Main Street and backs up to the Post home. After the members approached the owner of the garage about this issue, he immediately installed gutters on his roof to redirect this runoff water to the driveway and not to the small space between the backs of the two buildings.
In the Fall 1991 Kilmer Report we find the following, “We are planning a major addition to the rear of the Post home to create much needed storage space and an elevator to facilitate entrance to both the upper and lower halls.”
On February 16, 1993 Post 25 obtained an estimate to “fine grade, compact subgrade and install 3” of FABC in 5,717 SY (includes removing and resetting 41 concrete bumpers).” Also done was “Stripe approximately 161 single line parking stalls and cross-hatch 1,600 SF.” Total cost of the project will be $32,810.00
A letter was found in the achieves, dated June 1, 1993, from Post Commander Walter F. Dallenbach to Public Service Electric & Gas Co. The reason for the letter was as follows and I quote from the first paragraph. “I have been in contact with you concerning the soil that is being stored on our property since April of 1993. This soil was placed there while work was beingperformed by R. A. Hamilton Company and Public Service Electric & Gas Company in Milltown.” Also in that letter was the Post charge for $1,550.00 for the storage of that soil on Post property for the Month of May.
A follow up letter dated July 12, also from Commander Dallenbach to P.S.E. & G. indicating that the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection advised that a cover should be placed on the possibly contaminated soil. Also, was indication that the storage charge for May had still not been received and the June bill for storage was $1,550.00.
Regular Post minutes of July 13, 1993 indicate “The application for the loan about paving the
parking lot was approved by the bank.”
Then in a subsequent letter, with no date, also from Commander Dallenbach to P.S.E. & G. indicating that Post 25 is not receiving any response back from P.S.E. & G. and also enclosed was the storage bill for July of $1,550.00.
Letter dated August 12, 1993 from P.S.E. & G. to Borough Clerk Mike Januszka, went into great detail indicating what transpired. When the “responsible party of any contaminants could not be determined then the municipality assumes the responsibility for clean-up and is entitled to apply for reimbursement from the N.J.D.E.P.” No further correspondence was found.
The minutes of the Regular Post Meeting of September 14, 1993 stated in part, “(Tony) Vigilante finally got Public Service & the Borough to get the contaminated soil out of the lot. The contractor will start paving the lot in about two weeks. (Bill) Thomson brought up the subject of placing a monument & flagpole in the corner of the lot. After a discussion a motion was made to let him use a piece of the lot and after all arraignments required, he would report back to the membership on the outcome.”
From the Regular Post Minutes of September 28, 1993 in part we find “(Tony) Vigilante was thanked for his efforts in getting the lot in shape and for having the lot paved and lined. It looks like a parking lot now.”
In the Fall 1993 edition of the Kilmer Report we find that “The Post is going big time for New Year’s Eve this year. We have booked Tommy Cash, the little brother of Johnnie Cash, and his band for New Year’s Eve festivities. There will be a Country/Western atmosphere; however, Tommy’s band will play all types of music. Included in this evening are two shows by Tommy Cash, a sit-down dinner, ad open bar and a midnight buffet. All of this, for $35 per person. Folks, you’re never going to find a better deal. Get your tickets early because quite a number have been committed already. As usual, tickets will be available at the bar on a first come, first serve basis. We are expecting a good turn-out so include yourself early.”
From the Kilmer Report, Spring/Summer 1994 we find the following. “The John Basilone Detachment of the Marine Corps League is now holding their meetings at our Post, on the first Monday of each month. If any former Marines, who belong to the Post, wish to join this organization, stop down at the Post on the first Monday of any month and sign up.”
Also in that edition of The Kilmer Report, “As usual, the Post has been busy since the last newsletter. As an indication of our continuing service to veterans, Ralph Parillo, along with help from members of the Sons of the American Legion and the Auxiliary, held a dinner for from Lyon’s Hospital. The hospital transported the veterans to our Post, were Ralph and his
committee served a spaghetti and ham dinner for these veterans and then conducted a bingo, where each veteran walked away a winner. A lot of effort by Ralph and his committee goes into these dinners and we are sure the veterans from Lyons appreciated this. Along with the
Auxiliary, the Legion members continued to support the bingo program at the Menlo Park Old
If you haven’t been near the Post lately, you do not know this parking lot across the street has been paved. Through the guidance of Bill Thomson, a corner of the parking lot at Washington Avenue and JFK Drive has been fenced off and will be dedicated as a mini-park to veterans. Bill and other members of the Post have worked hard planting shrubbery, placing sod, erecting a flagpole and attaining a granite monument dedicated to all veterans, to be placed as soon as the weather breaks. We will have a formal dedication of this park as soon as the weather permits us
to have an outdoor ceremony. Notification of this will be in the local newspapers. If you haven’t
seen the park, please take the time to go out of your way and stop by.
The Dedication Ceremony of Memorial Park. From left to right are ?????, Grace Famham, ????, Bill
Thomson, ?????, Post Commander Walter Dallenbach, National Commander ?????, ?????, ?????
Also in this edition we find “COMMANDER”S MESSAGE - Walt Dallenbach. This will be my last newsletter as Commander of Post 25. The past three years have probably been the most fulfilling of my life. I have met people who will become life-long friends. I have seen how an organization can come together and help one another and also work together for common goals. During my tenure, I was fortunate enough to be invited and participate at County and State
Legion functions. On each occasion, after being introduced as the Commander of Post 25, legion members from other posts would always say, “You’re the Post that works together real well.”This reputation throughout the state that Post 25 enjoys did not start three years ago, rather it has been a continuing effort by the members since the merger. I am sure you will give your full support to the new Commander, the same way you supported me. I will forever be grateful to have had the opportunity to serve as the Commander of this Post and I hope that I will have many more years to continue working for all of the goals and aims of Post 25. Thank you, everyone, for all of the assistance you have given me.”
In the minutes of the regular meeting of June 2, 1994 we find “Discussion was held about a fence around the entire parking lot. A motion was made and carried to obtain estimates for a fence.” Then during the July 12, 1994 regular meeting is was indicated by Charlie Riva that “Distafano
Fence Co. has submitted a price of $3 to $4 per foot. Once the exact measurements are known he will give a firm offer.”
Also during the July 12 meeting we find, “Discussion was held on the dedication of our park. National Commander Bruce Theisen will be the main speaker. Other letters have been sent and printed invitations will be sent to the posts in Middlesex County. The date will be August 13, 1994 at 11:00am.”
Regular meeting minutes of July 7, 1995 indicate “A motion was made and carried to erect a fence around the parking lot. $5,000.00 to be paid from the Bingo Account and the remainder to be paid from the General Fund.”
From regular Post meeting minutes of March 12, 1996 we find, “Tony Vigilante presented an estimate from South River Glass for the enclosure of the front porch in the amount of $9,800.00. A motion was made and carried to obtain a second estimate.”
Then in the regular Post meeting minutes of May 14, 1996 we find, “A motion was made and carried to have South River Glass install the new enclosure at the front entrance.”
The Post received a letter form Milltown Councilman Mike Skarzynski on October 16, 1996 and it read, “Dear Commander: Enclosed you will find a copy of Resolution #96296 that was unanimously approved by the Council and fully supported by mayor Graulich.
“Please advise the Mayor or me on any assistance the Council may provide in this worthwhile endeavor.”
The resolution read: “Resolution R96296.
WHEREAS, the Borough of Milltown is the owner of certain monuments which honor Milltown residents who sacrificed their lives while serving in various branches of the United States Armed Forces during times of conflict, and
WHEREAS, The American Legion, Joyce Kilmer Post #25, has expressed an interest establishing a area on their property, which will be perpetually visible to the public, to display these monuments honoring the Milltown Veterans who served their Country and made the ultimate sacrifice; and
WHEREAS, The American legion, Joyce Kilmer Post #25 has indicated that there will be no cost to the Borough of Milltown, if they are allowed to display these monuments; and
WHEREAS, the Borough of Milltown is in agreement that these monuments should be displayed in such a manner so that all residents will be able to see them and reflect on the sacrifices that these veterans made;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Mayor and Borough Council of the Borough of Milltown, County of Middlesex and State of New Jersey that the American Legion, Joyce Kilmer Post #25 be allowed to display the Borough of Milltown World War I and World War II monuments on their property.
Dated: October 7, 1996”
From this, Post 25 has now added two monuments to our Memorial Park. This is a great
addition to memorialize those who have served and gone onto Post Everlasting.
From the E-Board minutes of December 3, 1996 we find, “Dave Stout reported he will have the
decal over the entrance sometime during the week of the 21st. He estimates it will cost between
$40 and $45 for material and $80 to $85 for labor. A motion was made and carried to pay these
expenses.” The decal is that of a Bald Eagle, like that on the U.S. currency.
From the regular Post meeting minutes of May 27, 1997 we find “The bill from Chemlawn will not be paid. The weeds in the parking lot have not been killed.” This has been an ongoing thing with the weeds in the grassy area beyond the parking lot. There is nothing there except weeds and Post 25 has been trying to get rid of the weeds for some time. This is an eye sore on the Post and the Community of Milltown.
The Kilmer Report from the Summer of 1997 reported the following. “FLAG RETIREMENT BOX, Recently, through the initial proposal, hard work and final implementation of Comradee Frank Wahler, a “Flag Retirement Box” has been established in front of the Post. During the first two months, Frank’s granddaughter has removed 300 flags from the former mail box and prepared them for proper “Retirement of Old Glory.” If you or anyone you know has a flag that is old and needs to be disposed, stop by the Post and deposit your flag into the “Flag Retirement Box”. The box is the shape of a regular Mail Box, but brightly colored with red, white and blue with the words “For old retired flags only”. Plans are underway to hold a “Flag Retirement Ceremony” at the Post. When arrangements are coordinated and a date set, everyone is welcome
to attend. This is they type of voluntarism that is needed in the Post, the need for any member to
latch onto a single idea or program and be 100% responsible. Through this type of voluntarism,
the efforts of Post 25 can be shared and the results multiplied.”
On Saturday, June 28, 1997 there was a outdoor work party in which only four people showed up. Two were Post members, Commander, Bob Richards and Adjutant, Walt Dallenbach. One was an S.A.L. member, Howard Reed and the final person was a person walking by who volunteered to help. The four men took turns operating the rented Billy Goat (large and powerful lawn mower) to mow the grass (weeds) that were in the lot behind the parking lot. Some of the weeds were as high as four feet. The lot had been a mess for many years. The post had previously hired a weed exterminator to control the weeds, but the weeds kept coming up.
With this area mowed, which took all morning and part of the afternoon, the area looked 1,000% improved, plus this provided additional parking for the July 4th fireworks coming up in a week. The little time spent had improved the image that the Post displays to the community.
From the regular Post Meeting minutes of September 23, 1997 read, “Building Chairman George Borgstede reports on the new (fire) alarm system study conducted by his committee. The price of a state of the art system will be $5,451.00. This will be installed by members of the Post and
S.A.L. A motion was made and carried to proceed with the installation of the new system.”
In the October 14, 1997 e-Board minutes was the following, “Commander Richards reported that the Post received a check from the Auxiliary in the amount of $5,200 to be used entirely for the new Smoke and Fire Alarm System.” This was a very nice gesture by the Auxiliary.
In the regular meeting minutes from February 25, 1998 we find the following, “George Borstedge gave an update of the (fire) alarm system that has been installed.” We also find “Commander Richards reported on the meeting with William Yorke, Executive Director, Legalized Games of Chance. Commander Richards will write a letter requesting the use of Bingo funds to pay a portion of the electric and insurance bills and outlining other programs conducted
by the Post.” This last portion is our hope that the State Legalized Games of Chance Control
Commission will grant Post 25 with the authorization to pay a portion of our largest Utility bills from our Bingo account.
One of the problems facing Post 25, like it has been for any American Legion post, has been the increasing cost of utilities and repairs of their buildings. Also with this has been the restrictions set upon any Not-For-Profit organization and their ability to use funds from different fund raisers, i.e. Bingo, to pay utility bills. It’s a Catch 22. If you have funds in Bingo or 50/50 or Instant Raffle accounts and can not use it to pay our utility bills, what good are these funds. Also, if your General Fund is so low that you do not have the funds to pay these utilities bills, you might have to close your Post, like what has happened to some Posts in the state and I’m sure across the nation. Therefore, Post 25, in the regular post meeting of April 28, 1998 approved the resolution to forward onto the County and then Dept, for the support from the State Licensed Games of Chance to allow us to make the necessary repairs and helping to pay mounting utility and insurance bills. In the regular post meeting minutes of May 12, 1998 we find the following, “Commander Richards indicated that our appeal to the Legalized Games of Chance will be heard tomorrow, May 13, 1998 and he will attend along with Charlie Riva.”
The next day, May 13, 1998, Commander Richards and Charlie Riva made a trip to the State Capital in Trenton to address the quarterly executive meeting of the State Licensed Games of Chance Commission. At that time, Commander Richards commented on Post 25s request to allow it to pay up to 75% of the Posts Insurance and Electric bills (currently the Posts two largest utility bills) out of funds that are regulated by the State Commission. After a lengthy discussion by the Commissioners and their legal staff, it was approved to grant Post 25 their request. The Commissions Attorney advised the Commissioners that under current laws and regulations, this
was illegal. The Commissioners President replied back to the Attorney, “Well then we will
change the law!” and he advised his legal council to take an action to start that process. He then indicated that we can not allow veterans who have given their all to protect our freedoms some legal snafu that will not allow them to properly maintain their buildings or pay their bills when funds are available by such organizations.
In the July 14, 1998 regular meeting we find “A discussion was held on the prices for two air conditioners. Commander Michael Varga will finalize the prices.” Shortly after this meeting, the Post had installed two new roof mounted air conditioners.
Later in this regular meeting minutes we find “A new motion was made and carried to exempt any member with over 50 years of membership from dues and per capita.” Therefore, any member with 50 years of membership will no longer have to pay their annual dues. This action was taken to show the thanks that Post 25 has with all those that contributed those many years of continued service.
The combined meeting minutes from March 31, 1999 recorded the following “Walter Dallenbach also announced that the Post has obtained approval from the Borough of Milltown to hold a Carnival on the Post grounds from 5/11/99 - 5/16/99. Help is needed with publicity, distribution of Posters and Flyers and workers for the assorted Booths and Games of Chance. . . A food concession, sponsored by the Post will serve Sausage & Peppers, Hot Dogs, Hamburgers and other food to be agreed upon. Members intending to work at said Carnival are to sign a Master List indicating the days & hours they will be available to work.” This was the beginning of the annual event that the Post held in the parking lot. Unfortunately, the first three years we
had very bad rides. We later found a good Camie company. But after many years, as all of us
were getting older and with no or limited new blood coming to assist we had to stop the Carnival. This was a very good fund raiser. Not like what some the of the local churches make, but it definitely helped the Post with its expenses. But more important it was a great community involvement.
The above two pictures, taken from the top of Post 25 home, show the Post parking lot filled with all the
The regular meeting minutes form June 13, 1999 had the following “After a discussion a motion was made and carried to place a concrete slab in the parking lot area for the purpose of holding picnics. The cost to be approximately $4,500.”
The minutes of the Combined meeting of June 29, 1999 had the following “at least eight (8) additional tents are needed for the picnic area. A motion was made by Tony Vigilante and approved. Funds will come out of the Bingo Fund.”
The July 6, 1999 e-Board minutes has “Tony Vigilante will get a price quote for the construction of a concrete slab on the Post picnic grounds” This was the beginning of what today is our Memorial Veteran’s Pavilion.
Also in these minutes, was the following, “Commander (Micky) Varga and Adjutant Walt
Dallenbach will be signing a complaint against
.(name of specific Post member is being
withheld), very soon.” (This is a member who was in a position of handling Post funds in which
this person misappropriated these funds.)
August 10, 1999 regular meeting minutes had the following “Judge Advocate Bob Richards
reports that he filed a formal complaint at the Milltown Municipal Building against
warrant will be issued for his arrest.”
The August 31, 1999 regular meeting minutes reported the following “Tony Vigilante did a great
job orchestrating the construction of the concrete slab as well as procuring 10 picnic tents and 8
picnic tables.” This concrete slab, which measures 30 feet wide and 68 feet long, will form the beginning of Memorial Veteran’s Pavilion,. This was a fabulous beginning of a well used addition for Post 25. When this slab was initially installed, it looked hugh, but years later and we look back on this, some have said that we should have made it larger. Hind sight is always the best medicine.
The September 14, 1999 regular meeting minutes have the following “The bathroom (upstairs) is supposed to be done by the time of the October 13, 1999 Disabled Veterans Party.” What actually was taking place was the complete reconstruction of the upstairs bathroom, including the tiling of the walls and floor. We also find “A motion was made and carried for the E-Board to explore the possibility of constructing a building (bathroom) on the Post grounds (across the parking lot by the pavilion) and acquiring a loan to do it.”
From the E-Board meeting minutes of October 5, 1999 we find “Ernie Stofko suggests that the Post start a “Pull Tab” program to earn funds for the Post. He reports that the State license for this would cost $500 and the Borough could charge up to $500 for a Borough license to sell them. The program will take a minimum of 4 people to run this on a daily basis. Records must be kept for 7 years.” Nothing was done to act upon this recommendation at this time.
Everything within the post has not been a bed of roses. We have had some major setbacks at times. One was a new member who volunteered to be Affairs Chairman, when we were in dire need for volunteers. It was later noticed that this individual was embezzling funds from the Affairs area. In the November 2, 1999 e-Board meeting we find the following “Judge Advocate Bob Richards reports that court proceedings will commence in regard to the Prosecution of
at the New Brunswick Courthouse, Friday, November 12, 1999. He suggests that other e-board
members or other members attempt to attend the proceedings to show support for the Post.”
The June 13, 2000 regular meeting minutes had the following “The Publicity Chairman read off a draft apology letter to the public for the condition or the rides during the Carnival. It was recommended that this letter be sent to Letter to The Editor at the Home News - Tribune and the Sentinel. Membership approved the sending of the letter.” The Carnie company we had this year was worse than horrible. Everyone felt that the rides should never have been in service, but
the State Inspector, which comes around before every Carnival had approved them.
In the regular meeting minutes of September 12, 2000 we find, “Comrade Tom Murray indicated that the Handicap Bathroom will have its final inspection this week. He thanked everyone who worked on the project and indicated that this was a well worth project for the improvement of the
Post.” For those of you who have not been at the Post recently, the Handicap Bathroom is
located upstairs, just to the right of the entrance into the hall.
The September 26, 2000 regular meeting minutes had the following “Comrade Bob Richards updated the membership on what he discovered on the proposal for a Pavilion, constructed by Conestoga Builders, Lancaster County, PA. The membership approved moving ahead with the proposal, which will cost the Post $16,090. This included the total cost for the drawings,
materials, shipping, installation and tax. This Pole Barn construction would be slightly larger
than the concrete slab that currently is Memorial Veteran’s Pavilion and it will add great value to this structure. It was mentioned that The American Legion is a Tax Exempt organization, therefore the cost will be less. Comrade Richards will arrange for the salesperson from Conestoga Builders to come out this next week, to verify the size of the building over the
existing concrete slab in the Post picnic grounds. All members, but one, voted to take the money
out of the Bingo Fund.” The pavilion was constructed in December of 2000.
In the June 12, 2001 Regular Meeting Minutes we find “Pull Tabs will be explored by Vice Commander Rich Craparotta.” After about 5 years of discussing and contemplating, Post 25 has finally gotten started on this new fund raiser. Many people still believe its illegal, but state
regulations prove otherwise.
September 11, 2001 will go down in American history as a day of major remembrance. The day the United States of America was attacked by terrorists causing the two World Trade buildings to collapse, a major destruction of the Pentagon and also the day John Q. Citizen took over and protected America from another major destruction. Because we would not allow terrorists to take control of our freedoms, we held our regular Post meeting that night, opening the meeting with a standing minute of silence, remembering what had transpired that day. In the minutes of that meeting we find “
Dedication service for the pavilion and a Memorial service for the events that occurred today will be held during the picnic on Saturday.” Our regularly scheduled Annual Post Picnic was scheduled to be held this coming Saturday, September 15. Discussion has held if we should postpone this event because of what happened today or continue with it as scheduled. The major opinion of all those in attendance was that we SHOULD NOT ALLOW ANYONE TO TAKE AWAY OUR FREEDOMS, therefore we will continue as scheduled. We will add to the picnic and Pavilion dedication a brief Memorial Service for all those who lost their lives this day.
In the September 25, 2001 Regular Meeting Minutes we find, “Vice Commander Craparotta reports on the cost of setting up the Pull Tab operation. Cost of machine $5,500, License $1,000 and start up deals approx. $3,000. A motion was made and carried to proceed with the machine and licenses.”
In the October 9, 2001 Regular Meeting Minutes we find “The Borough has charged the Post
$5.00 for the Pull Tab License Fee. They could have charge up to $500.00.”
The next update comes in the November 6 E-Board meeting minutes we see “We have the
License for the Pull Tabs.”
Then in the November 12, 2001 Regular Meeting Minutes we find, “Rich Craparotta reports the
Pull Tab machine has been delivered.”
In the Regular Meeting Minutes of November 27, 2001 we find, “OLD BUSINESS, The Pull Tab machine is up and working in the Bar Area.”
Also there was “A motion was made and carried to replace the Formica on the bar. A committee
has been formed and will present a proposal for the renovation of the lower hall.”
In the December 4, 2001 E-Board minutes we find “Commander Richards presented a proposal to donate flags to the Borough of Milltown to display on the utility poles on the 4th of July. To place a flag on each pole from Van Liew Avenue to Treptows would cost approximately $2,400. A motion was made and carried to approve this.” This tradition has been carried out every year
that the Post will supply the flags, poles and brackets, while the Borough employees will put them up and take them down. The Borough of Milltown has agreed to place the flags on the poles prior to Memorial Day each year and take them down right after Veteran’s Day for winter storage.
The regular meeting minutes of January 8, 2002 have the following “The roof repairs have been
completed. A motion was made and carried to complete the bar renovation at a cost of
$7,235.00.” In the same minutes we find the following letter from the Commander to the Mayor
and Council of Milltown.
January 2, 2001
Dear Mayor Bradford and Council Members,
Joyce Kilmer, Post 25, The American Legion holds great respect for the Community and the American flag. Likewise, the Post membership highly honors the celebration of Independence Day. With this in mind, we would like to donate an “Avenue of Flags” to the Borough of Milltown to be placed on every telephone pole between Van Liew Avenue and Lincoln Avenue.
Even though the intent of this donation is for it’s placement during the July 4th parade and day of activities along the parade route on Main Street during Independence Day, this “venue of Flags” can be placed out whenever the Borough deems it appropriate.
This donation will be a total of 80 flag sets, nearly a $3,000 donation. It would be the Borough’s responsibility to mount the heavyweight case aluminum 45 degree pole holder and metal mounting straps that come along with the sets. It will also be the Borough’s responsibility to mount, dismount and store the flags when they are not being displayed. Post 25 will be glad to replace any unserviceable flag(s).
This donation is in accordance with part of our Preamble, “ . . . to foster and perpetuate a one hundred percent Americanism; to inculcate a sense of individual obligation to the community, state and nation; and to consecrate and sanctify our Comradeship by our devotion to mutual helpfulness.”
Post 25 will order the “Avenue of Flags” sets when we hear from the Borough
that they are in favor of receiving this donation.
FOR GOD AND COUNTRY
Robert A. Richards
In the February 26, 2002 regular meeting minutes we find, “The Mayor has informed
Commander Richards that the Borough has all the approvals to place the flags on the poles.”
In the regular meeting minutes of April 9, 2002 we find “Commander Richards advises the Post
that the Borough has started putting up the brackets for the flags. They will have the flags up byMemorial Day and leave them up untill Veteran’s Day.” This is the beginning of The Avenue of
Flags for Main Street of Milltown. This ongoing “Avenue of Flags” project has brought many
extremely favorable comments to Milltown. In fact one comment we heard was from new
teacher at Joyce Kilmer Elementary School who said something like the following, after driving into Milltown for the first time, for my job interview, and seeing all those American flags waving along Main Street, I knew I had to get a job in this town.
Also we find, “A motion was made and carried to extend the concrete slab at the pavilion to
accommodate the cooking with the deep fat fryers.”
In the regular meeting minutes of June 25, 2002 we find, “The Finance Officer gave an update on the cemetery plots that were donated to the post many years ago. The cemetery management acknowledges that the Post owns 5 plots with 4 grave sites each. A motion was made and the membership approved that the Post will hold onto those plots to be used as required in the future.”
The regular meeting minutes of July 8, 2002 had the following “GOOD OF THE LEGION,
The Commander took this time TO THANK Micky Varga for the display case, Leo Sotak for his continually cleaning up around the Post, Charlie Riva for his continuing Bingo work and John Visokay for his outside maintenance.”
The September 3, 2002 E-Board meeting minutes has the following “A discussion was held on the renovation of the downstairs hall. A price of $17,000 was obtained which includes sheet rocking the walls and carpeting. A motion was made and carried to bring this to the membership and get their feelings.”
Tragedy struck the entire Untied States on the morning September 11, 2001. The United States was struck by foreign terrorists who highjacked different commercial air liners and used them as guided rockets into major targets within the United States. On the first anniversary of 9/11, members of Post 25 took part in a town wide candlelight memorial service at Borough Park. The Post received the following letter.
September 19, 2002
Commander Robert Richards
American Legion Joyce Kilmer Post 25
121 Brook Drive
Milltown, N.J. 08850
On behalf of the Borough of Milltown, thank you for the contributions of the Post in conjunction with the September 11 candlelight memorial service at the Borough Park.
The presentation and retirement of the colors, the gun salute and your words all added to the meaningful service. I am receiving many comments from residents who received comfort from being there.
Thank you also for the Blue Star flag. As you note, it is flying
proudly at the Borough building.
The relationship between the Borough of Milltown and Joyce Kilmer Post 25 is very special and one of my greatest sources of pride. Thank you for being there.
Gloria M. Bradford
The E-Board meeting of October 1, 2002 has the following, “After a discussion a motion was made and carried to bring the proposed lower hall renovation to the membership. The estimated cost is 25 to 20K.”
In the November 5, 2002 e-board meeting minutes we find, “Renovation of the downstairs hall is looking really great. The Commander indicated that a great deal of work went into the renovation, but in his opinion, the walls are very bland. It was decided to leave the walls alone at this time and review them after some time.”
We also find in these minutes “Discussion was held on what type of rug to install in the downstairs. After a lengthy discussion, it was felt to leave the floor alone at this time and review the topic at a later date. It was felt that because of the amount of work done on renovations of the downstairs and the overall downward attendance at Bingo, that Bingo should remain upstairs.
Both the Post and Auxiliary have fewer support personnel to work Bingo.”
Finally in these same minutes we find, “Richard Famham raised the issue that we need to address the building of toilets out by the Pavilion. This is something that we should consider in the Spring. Since we are replacing all the toilets, we could save those good toilets and sinks to use in our outside facility, when we build it. A motion was made and agreed to save those toilets and sinks that are in better shape for the outside facility.”
The regular meeting minutes of November 12, 2002 had the following “A motion was made and carried to donate $2,000 to Cub Scout Pack 33 toward the purchase of a Pinewood Derby Track.” The track that Pack 33 currently has is very old, warped and in dire need of repair. Pack 33 has been trying to raise funds to buy a new track, which costs $2,000, but with limited funds, this has been a very hard initiative to undertake for them. The Post member felt that since we have the funds for a donation, this would be a very worth while donation to the community.
Also in these minutes was “Lou Spinelli donated his Uncle’s American Legion Cap that was
worn while he was Commander in 1940.” This cap is now in our display case.
The regular meeting minutes of November 26, 2002 had the following. “Mickey Varga presented an estimate from Dunn-Rite Plumbing to install 19 toilets and 4 urinals. After a discussion it was decided to go forth with a total renovation of the bathrooms which will include new vanities in the ladies rooms and retiling all bathrooms. A request was made for vanities in the men’s rooms, however it was decided the rooms are too small and some of the members are too large. A motion was made and carried to approve the above.”
Headlines in the November 29, 2002 Kilmer Report reads “AMERICAN LEGION BASEBALL, Post 25 had a fantastic year with Legion Baseball. All Post members should be extremely proud of our team. Under the Chairmanship of Bill Thomson and the Coaching leadership of Brian Forte, Tony Catenacci and Jeff Elias, the team came within two games of being New Jersey State Champions. Following is a reprint, in part of the newspaper article in the local Brooklawn newspaper that was presented to Post 25 by Ted Horvath, Past N.J. Dept. Commander.
Brooklawn Legion Team Loses, Does Not Advance. It is the first time since
1996 that Brooklawn has not advanced out of state tournament play.
Brooklawn Post 72 American Legion team, was shut down by Milltown Post 25 by a whopping seven runs. The game took place at Campbell’s field in Camden.
Brooklawn lost its bid for a sixth consecutive state and second straight
World Series title.
In the first, Milltown’s Mike Feaster reached first on a walk with one out.
The fourth inning still going strong for Milltown a ground ball off the bat of Pete Forte was fielded, but Brooklawn shortstop John Beilis, had a wild throw that passed first baseman Scott Ward. The play scored both Coll and Anderson to give Milltown a 5-0 lead.
After this inning Brooklawn lost their hope and fell to Milltown 10-3.
The following is from the local Sentinel article.
Milltown Legion Squad Wins State Sectional Title. It’s been a season of
first for Milltown’s Joyce Kilmer Post American Legion baseball team.
Coach Brian Forte’s squad has won its first Middlesex County title, and followed that up with it’s first state sectional title, beating Washington Township 11 - 9 in 10 innings.
The championship game was a classic see-saw affair, with the leads changing hands several times. “Bill Thomson, our Legion liaison for the past 25 years, had tears in his eyes,” Forte said of the emotional scene following Milltown’s dramatic state win.
In the sectional tourney, the clear MVP was catcher Kevin Brown, of Spotswood, who simply went haywire at the plate. Brown hit three home runs in the 22 - 13 slugfest victory over Hamilton.
The next day, he hit another four-bagger against Parsippany in a 9 - 4 Milltown triumph. Then he knocked in the go-ahead run in extra innings in the finals.
Forte gives special credit to his pitchers, starters Joe Catenacci, a Spotswood High School graduate now at Brookdale Community College, and East Brunswick senior-to-be Danny Lanzano, Greg Salvicke and Tim Dexter. “He was being scouted by the Kansas City Royals,” Forte said of Dexter, a South River product, “And Seton Hall if very interested.”
Also standing out were top-of-the order men Pete Forte, the centerfielder from Spotswood, and Catenacci, a left fielder when not pitching, who went 5-for-5 against Parsippany.
“They did a tremendous job getting on base” Forte said.
Post 25 has authorized the purchase of Legion Baseball jackets for all the members that played this year. We will be having an upcoming celebration to present these jackets to the boys and the coaches.
Then the December 10, 2002 regular meeting minutes read the following “OLD BUSINESS, The Lower meeting room is completed. Dick Famham conducted a light show for the membership.” Another item in the same minutes was “The bathroom renovations are under way. A motion was made and carried to authorize expenditures for what is deemed necessary to complete the project.”
Another article in this edition is entitled “FIRST YEAR CELEBRATION, We have just celebrated out first year with the Pull Tab machines at Post 25. This fund raising activity has assisted Post 25 in raising much needed funds to assist in paying for Legion Programs and Civic Donations that were previously paid for out of our General Fund and our shrinking Bingo Account. Some Civic Donations this year, that we’ve wanted to do in the past, but didn’t have the funds to accomplish were donating the Avenue of Flags along much of Main Street, the Defibrillator for the Police Dept, replacement of a 40+ year old Pine Wood Derby track for the Cub Scouts. Besides the added funds, the Pull Tabs operation requires much less labor to operate then other fund raising activities in the Post.
In the January 14, 2003 Regular Meeting Minutes we find, “The upstairs ladies room is almost
In the February 11, 2003 edition of the Regular Meeting Minutes we find, “Old Business, The upstairs men’s restroom is nearing completion.” Post members Tony Vigilante and Bob Garbolino, with the assistance from members John Visokay, Pete Metseur and Bob Rizk, have tackled each of the four bathrooms both upstairs and downstairs, retiling them. Along the process, we had new bathroom fixtures and partitions installed. This long and tiring process by these two lone volunteers have done an excellent job on brightening up these bathrooms.
In the March 4, 2003 Executive Board minutes we find, “The helicopter will be delivered toward the end of March and we should plan on a Dedication Ceremony during the first half of May, before the Carnival.”
In the April 18, 2003 Regular Meeting Minutes we find, “Frank Wahler reports we have 18 delegates for the upcoming Boys State.” Frank does an excellent effort on gathering boys to be sponsored by Post 25 for this great event sponsored by The American Legion. Over the years
Post 25 has sponsored many boys to Jersey Boys State, providing them all with detailed training on the workings of our form of government. Enough can not be mentioned about this great effort.
From the Kilmer Report, November 1, 2003 comes the following. “A HISTORY OF THE HELICOPTER, Post 25 received our Cobra Attack helicopter on April 4, 2003. It arrived in Milltown on a flatbed truck via Washington Avenue causing quite a stir. The aircraft was shipped to us from Fort Drum, New York. The process of obtaining it took approximately one year of negotiations by Richard Craparotta, which included making many telephone calls, a lot of correspondence and filling out forms to government offices in Warren, Michigan; Huntsville, Alabama; and Fort Drum, New York.
“When the truck carrying the helicopter finally arrived, we were quite prepared to off-load our cargo. With the assistance of the Department of Public Works and the coordination of the Borough of Milltown, the helicopter offloaded with the fanfare of Post 25 legionnaires and sightseers.
“Within a few days the helicopter was retrofitted with its wings, rocket armament and nose cannon by our members. They also planned and constructed the pedestal for the static display. Both jobs were tackled with joy and completed rather quickly. Once again we had to call on the dedicated employees of Public Works to assist us and place the aircraft onto the pedestal. It fit perfectly in place.
“We were very fortunate to have the assistance of the N.J. National Guard Unit from Mercer Airport. They sent four men to top off our monument by putting the main rotor blade and transmission into place.
“A former test pilot who is a retired National Guard member painted the smiling face of a shark
on the front of the helicopter.
“The helicopter has received a great deal of publicity, many accolades as well as a monetary donation. If you have not seen this memorial, please stop by and look at this awesome display and take pride in what your Post has accomplished.
“The helicopter was dedicated on June 7, 2003. Guest speakers for the ceremony were Mayor of Milltown Gloria Bradford, and Assistant Project Manager of Redstone Arsenal Mr. John Vile who represented LTC Jeff Crabb, the Product Manager of the AHIF Cobra Attack Helicopter. Other participants in the ceremony were Junior Sea Cadets and Cub Scout Troop 33. Representing Post 25 were Commander Bob Richards and Commander-elect Richard Craparotta. The President of the Trustees, Ernie Stofko, accepted the helicopter on behalf of all members of the Post, Unit and Squadron 25 with the words, ‘I accept this Cobra Attack Helicopter static display as a remembrance to those who have moved on to the Post Everlasting and present this as a perpetual memorial to our comrades who died in their country’s service and to those who offered their lives during time of war.’ This ceremony was very impressive and was attended by
a large audience.”
The Post helicopter is positioned behind Memorial Park, in the Post parking lot, across the street from
Post 25 home. Everybody in town knows where the helicopter is located.
In the same newsletter was the following; “VETERAN’S PAVILION UPDATE, Since the addition of the outside kitchen to our pavilion in the Spring of 2001, and the formal dedication of the pavilion as “Veteran’s Memorial Pavilion” in September 2002, an annex has been added to
the facility. A 20 x 40 foot structure has been erected giving the entire facility an “L” shape.
The additional coverage provides us with protection from the elements during food preparation as well as providing us with expanded seating coverage in case of inclement weather. Permanent bathrooms will soon be constructed adjacent to the pavilion.
“Visitors to the pavilion enjoy sitting on the many benches which were donated by Post members in remembrance of their loved ones. We are looking forward to increased rentals during the spring/summer of 2004 and encourage Post members who may be hosting picnics or large gatherings to consider renting our pavilion. Also, should any member have an employer or friend who may be hosting a picnic in 2004, please make them aware of our facility.”
Above is a picture of “Veteran’s Memorial Pavilion”. This picture is taken at one of the Post annual picnics, from the parking lot. As you look through the main part of the pavilion, in the back, you can just make out the kitchen, across the entire back end of the main pavilion. To the back left, you will see the extension that was just erected. In the foreground and within the pavilion, you will see some of the benches purchased by some of the Post members. This entire structure has been such a great addition to Post 25 and the Borough of Milltown. Many events have been held in this structure, including the annual 9/11 Memorial Services, and many more events will be held here in the future.
Another article in the same newsletter was entitled “PURPLE HEART STAMP, The Purple Heart U.S. postage stamp was unveiled at the Joyce Kilmer American Legion Post during an event attended by about 100 Purple Heart recipients, several government officials, and hundreds
of spectators. The stamp commemorates American’s oldest military decoration.”
The U.S. Postal Service indicated that the unveiling of The Purple Heart U.S. Postage Stamp was designated to take place in two places in the United States. The then current National Commander of the Military Order of Purple Heart, Post 25’s own Lou Spinelli, from New Brunswick, was asked what other location would he like to see the stamp unveiled besides
Washington D,C. Lou indicated American Legion Post 25, Milltown, NJ. So, on May 30, 2003,
a hugh tent, capable of holding nearly 200 sitting people, was erected in the Post 25 parking lot. The National President of the Gold Star Mothers was there. During the ceremony, she as well as Post 25 Commander, Robert Richards, were presented with flags. It was a memorable ceremony for Post 25 and for Milltown.
In the July 8, 2003 Regular Meeting Minutes we find, “Commander Richard Craparotta has contracted with an Engineer to draw plans for our rest rooms in the parking lot.” In the August 12, 2003 Regular Meeting Minutes we find, “Commander Richard Craparotta discussed the plans
for the rest rooms to be built in the parking lot.” This will be a great added feature for our
Veteran’s Memorial Pavilion across the parking lot.
In the September 23, 2003 Regular Meeting Minutes we find “The Milltown Zoning Board has approved our rest room plans and they are now in the hands of the building inspector.” We’re making progress on the construction of outside bathrooms for our pavilion.
Commander Richard Craparotta sent a letter to Mayor Gloria Bradford on October 7, 2003 discussing the charge of the Demand Electric charge on our electric accounts. The membership of the Post believe we should be exempt from this charge because The American Legion is a Not-for-Profit organization and not a profit business. This extra burden on our total utilities charge has been putting continuing pressure on Post 25 trying to pay its bills each month. From this letter, the Borough of Milltown later passed a bill exempting The American Legion, The
Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Rangers from the Demand Electric charge.
In the March 9, 2004 Regular Meeting Minutes we find “Commander Craparotta reports the electrical work is 99% complete in the new rest rooms and the interior walls are presently going up. These are the new outside restrooms across the parking lot.
During a Past Commanders and President’s Dinner Dance in March 2004, Milltown Mayor Gloria Bradford, a member of our Auxiliary, along with the Borough Council dedicated our section of “John F. Kennedy Drive” to “American Legion Way”. Two brightly colored street signs will be installed indicating such.
In the March 2004 edition of the Kilmer Report we find the following article. “MESSAGE FROM THE COMMANDER, so far this year we have made great progress in building a new structure in the parking lot. It is located midway between Washington Avenue and the Pavilion. This building will contain ladies and men’s rest rooms and a storage room. The structure is made of red finished-face blocks and has a truss roof that matches our Pavilion. Water and sewer hookups have been completed. In addition we continued these facilities to the Pavilion kitchen where they were badly needed. This winter’s cold snap caused a small delay in construction.
“At the present time we are completing the interior plumbing and electricity installations. Our next step will be to put up the interior walls and ceilings, after which we will do the painting. The rough outside grading of the grounds will be done in the coming weeks, followed by the final concrete and landscape work. We plan to have the building completed in time for our
carnival that will be held from May 26th through the 30th. We are hoping that this improvement will increase the carnival attendance and Pavilion rentals. These together with the new Super 50- 50 plus other rentals will help absorb the cost of this great addition to out Post.”
The August 2004 edition of The Kilmer Report had the following. “GROUNDS AND BUILDINGS UPDATE, The Veterans Pavilion kitchen has been enhanced by stainless steel equipment. Through a contact with a local industry we were fortunate to obtain a real bargain. Items that have been installed are a triple bay deep sink, a 3x5 foot electric grill, and undercountered refrigerator, a food warmer, a salad bar and a hood. Some miscellaneous items that we cannot use will hopefully be sold and should result in a profit.
“In addition to the above we were also able to add water and sewer connections to the kitchen. With the assistance of the Borough and Post member Dick Farnham, we upgraded our electric power.
“The men and women’s bathrooms plus a storage room in the parking lot were completed in time for the carnival. Each bathroom is handicap accessible. The men’s room has two toilets and two urinals. Both rooms have two washbasins. There is a four foot over-hand to protect the entrances and visitors. A ten-foot wide sidewalk leads to the building.
The newly installed outdoor bathrooms are in the building to the left with the Pavilion on the right. The three doors on the front of the bathroom building, from left to right, are the Men’s room, the Ladies room and a storage room.
“All that remains to be done by the building is the spreading of topsoil, seeding of grass and
“The roof of the Post home, as many of us know has been in major disrepair. There was some patch work done in the post by Craig from Park Roofing of South River (originally of Highland Park). He was the only roofer who answered our call. Therefore his company was the one that was the roofer of choice to put on our new roof. I am sure some of the old timers remember Park Roofing. They have been in business for at least 75 years. Due to insurance and Borough policies we could not have more than three layers on the roof. Therefore the layers on the old roof were removed. Park Roofing gave consideration to the fact that the work was for an American legion so they gave us a great price, as well as a very good guarantee, and an extended period to pay off the balance with no interest. This gave us the opportunity to pay for the roof on our own and not have to go to a bank for a loan. We can rest assured that the roof will hold up for many years to come.
“Money saved by volunteered help on the various projects such as the parking lot bathrooms, water and sewer hookups, plus the success of Pull Tabs and how well the Post is doing now will help to pay off the roof expense. I am grateful for all the help given to the Post.
“Another savings of funds will result from the removal of the Post’s electric service from the demand meter. This action will result in substantial savings and thus enable us to accomplish more programs of service to which The American Legion is dedicated. A letter of thanks was sent to the Borough Council and Mayor Gloria Bradford not only for her efforts, but also for the
many ways the Borough has been of help to the Post.”
Another article in this newsletter was entitled “UPCOMING EVENTS, Our next big event will be on September 11. On this day we will have our annual picnic that will include food, beverages and entertainment.
“During the day of the picnic, Mayor Gloria Bradford will unveil a new road sign that will be placed above the J. F. Kennedy Drive road signs. The Borough of Milltown approved that a section of J. K. Kennedy Drive from Washington Avenue to East Lakewood will be dedicated as “The American Legion Way” in honor of our Post and veterans.
“Last, but not least, at 7:00 p.m. we will have our yearly flag retirement ceremony to honor our retired American flags. The ceremony will include the Honor Guard from the John Basilone Marine Detachment and our Post officers. The ceremony will end with taps being played followed by a bagpiper playing “Amazing Grace”.
On Friday, November 12, 2004, Commander Richard Craparotta and a team of post members headed off to Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland to deliver 300 duffle bags filled with personal care items and a large T.V. for the wounded troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. About 20 post, unit and squadron members delivered the items to the Marines in Bethesda who were extremely grateful for our thoughts in this time
Then in February 2005 the post delivered 700 donated backpacks and 10 personal CD players for the more seriously wounded, all delivered to the hospitalized army troops at Walter Reed Medical Center. About 25 members from the post, unit and squadron went along on the bus trip.
In the May 2005 edition of The Kilmer Report we find the following articles “MESSAGE FROM THE COMMANDER, As I approach the end of my second term as Commander of the great American Legion Joyce Kilmer Post #25, Milltown, I reflect on our accomplishments. I want to take this opportunity to thank all who contributed to the various projects. Without their devoted efforts and tireless assistance we cold not have succeeded with our agenda. All projects enhanced our Post but probably the most important was the new roof for our Post Home. Complete renovations were made to the four bathrooms and the downstairs banquet and meeting room. The bar was refinished with new stools and equipment. The upstairs banquet hall now has a bar with water and sewer hookups. Other improvements consist of the acquisition of a clothes washer and dryer so we can take care of flag cleaning for our Avenue of Flags on Main Street and for cleaning aprons, towels, etc.; acquisition of new furniture for the Commander’s Office, and a stereo and disc player in the Bar.
“Outdoor projects consisted of the completion of the Pavilion that included a kitchen as well as
an addition; the building of the bathrooms and storage area; and the installation of water, sewer,
and electric lines to both of the buildings. An electric billboard has been placed in the parking
lot near the Memorial Park where we are able to advertise activities and place notices.”
Starting in early December 2005 through January 2006, a team of active volunteers, lead by Richard Craparotta (Past Post Commander), renovated the upstairs hall. They lowered the ceiling around the edges, leaving the center ceiling in tact. They placed in new energy efficient lights in the ceiling and sconces around all four walls. They built in a new light control panel, so we never have to go to the electric panel in the kitchen again. They cut in four large windows to let in preciously needed light in that lovely hall. We installed new, much smaller speakers for our PA system. We installed a 27” TV for viewing the next Bingo ball, removing the two smaller monitors. Finally, a chair rail was installed around the entire wall, plus painting the walls a very pale tan color. The final outcome brightened up the entire hall which has received many very favorable comments.
This is the new front of the Post home after windows were placed in the upper hall.
The newly renovated upper hall from the inside looking out. The windows make the upper hall much brighter during the day. The lighter walls give the impression of a larger hall. Many favorable comments have been received from local Post members as well as many Bingo customers and hall renters.
Another picture of the newly renovated upstairs hall looking towards the bathrooms.
In March of 2008, the Post had the parking lot repaved with another 3” of blacktop. From the heavy trucks from the many carnivals over the years, there were spots of the lot that were in bad shape. It was felt that a repaving of the entire lot was the best thing to do. This was paid from a loan from FEMA, received from the flood damage done to our property and lower level of our building in the Spring of 2007.
Early in March, Post Commander Ron Dixon, read in The Home News - Tribune, that a Steven
R. Koch, from East Brunswick was killed in Afghanistan on March 3rd. He immediately went to the Koch family home to introduce himself and render to them any assistance for this fallen hero from the members of Post 25. Members of Post 25 participated in the funeral procession and
about 10 members went to Arlington Cemetery a couple days later for the burial ceremony. Steven left behind a wife and a 13 month old daughter. Shortly thereafter Commander Dixon made the recommendation to start a Trust Fund for Steven’s daughter to be used for her college
education or medical expenses, if anything out of the ordinary surfaced that will not be covered by their medical coverage. On June 21st, a Pig Roast fund raiser was held, attended by over 200 people. A substantial amount was collected for this Trust Fund.
For many years, Post 25 has been placing Memorial flags at the veteran’s grave sites in St Peter’s Cemetery, in New Brunswick. By 2008, the number of flag distributed is just over 2,000. With the help from Boy Scout Troop 33, Milltown, and the Junior ROTC, from New Brunswick High School, members of Post 25 get the job of placing the flags out around the middle of May so they are in place for Memorial Day. Following are a couple pictures taken in May, 2008.
At the beginning of the night, Boy Scout Troop 33 raises an American flag at the center of the Cemetery.
You can see members of the Junior ROTC program also participating in the program. This is a great
night showing the boys and girls who assist the respect for the American flag and the ability to assist in
the honor of remembering our fallen hero’s.
A snapshot of part of the massive cemetery. This is only a portion of the 2,000 flags put out each year.
On June 21, 2008 Post 25 expanded the Pig Roast that the SAL was planning to include a time to memorize and raise money for a Trust Fund for the child of CPL Steven R. Koch, who as killed in Afghanistan, on March 3 of this year, as presented earlier in this writing. God was with us that day, because it was a very beautiful day for this solemn occasion. Over 200 people attended and the Post raised a substantial amount to place in this Trust Fund.
Here you can see some of the SAL members, with the assistance of Boy Scout Troop 33 raising an
additional tent, the night before this Pig Roast event.
Above is from left to right, William Koch (Steven’s older brother), his mom Christine Koch and his
father, Bill Koch.
Bill was so taken on the death of his son that he purchased a new truck and had it decorated in honor of Steven. You can see the 82nd Airborne emblem on the hood, which Steven was a member of. On both doors is the Gold Star Banner.
where they sold shirts, ribbons, banners and other memorabilia to raise funds for the Trust Fund honoring
On July 4th, 2008, Post 25 dedicated a new monument into Memorial Park, the Fallen Soldier Battle Cross. This is a symbolic replacement of a cross on the battlefield or at the base camp for a soldier who has been killed. Made up of the soldier's rifle with bayonet attached stuck into the ground, helmet on top, dog tags sometimes hanging from the rifle and the boots of the fallen
soldier next to it. Its purpose is to show honor and respect for the fallen at the battle site. The
practice started during the American Civil War or maybe earlier as a means of identifying the
bodies on the battleground before they were removed.
Today, it is an immediate means of showing respect for the fallen among the still living members
of the troop. It might be seen in the field or base camp after the battle in Afghanistan or Iraq. Used less today as a means to identify the fallen but more as a private ceremony among those still living as a means to mourn, as attending the funeral is not always possible for soldiers still in the fight.
This is the new monument in Memorial Park, taken just after the dedication ceremony, July 4, 2008
In the summer of 2008, Past Post Commander, Richard Craparotta lead the renovation of the walls and ceiling of the bar and lounge area. This renovation brightened up the room. Many lighting changes were made, lead by Post member Richard Farnham.
Newly renovated bar area which is much brighter, taken from the lounge area.
Another view of the newly renovated bar are. This is the lounge area.. Visible on the front left table are
workers tools who were installing the Post new door alarm system.
On October 20th, 2008, the Post held its fourth Support the Troops Golf Outing. It was another wonderful event, like the ones in the past. All the funds collected will go to projects that support the wounded troops returning from war zones. Then, the following month, on November 20, 27 members from the Post, Auxiliary and S.A.L. took a bus trip to Walter Reed Medical Center to provide “Thank You” cards. Included in the “thank you” cards were a $50 gift card and a $10 phone call. This was our way of saying Thank You to the wounded troops. This year we were able to go up to the wards and see and speak with the seriously wounded troops. Some of our
members broke down with grief.
In the Spring of 2009, Past Post Commander, Richard Craparotta again lead a Post renovation
project, this time it was of the Post entrance. A new ceiling and brighter walls were installed.
During the afternoon of Monday, 22 June 2009, one of our Trustees, who is very active in the East Brunswick VFW came into the bar and notified us that their VFW post had been broken into over the past weekend. Commander Ron Dixon called a local company who installed Security Systems and made arrangements for him to come in the next day and give us a quote for a Security System. But sometime from 2230 hours 22 June 2009 and 0815 hours 23 June 2009
someone broke into Post 25 and stole funds from the Bar and Pull Tab areas. Police were
immediately notified as well as the insurance company. At first we thought it was a local situation, but by the end of the day, we heard that besides the East Brunswick VFW, over the last three weeks, four other veteran’s organization had been hit in Middlesex County. By the end of the week, we heard that many veteran’s organizations in Northern New Jersey had also been robbed. What a week!
The following week a few ladies from the Auxiliary came up with the idea of holding a fund raiser to attempt the recoup some of the funds that were lost during the most recent break-in. That fund raiser came and what a night. People from Milltown, neighboring town and many other American Legion posts came out for a great night of fun and music. Post 25 recouped a large portion of the funds stolen.
Past Post Commanders of Post 25, Milltown, NJ
1972 - 1973
1973 - 1974
Rollin E. Rothbun Jr.
Addison R. Bradford
1974 - 1975
1975 - 1976
Addison R. Bradford
1976 - 1977
1977 - 1978
William J. “Bill” Thomson
1978 - 1980
Charles J. McGowan
1980 - 1982
Robert H. Bowers
1982 - 1983
William J. Kaye
1983 - 1985
1985 - 1986
1986 - 1987
1987 - 1989
William “Bill” Mahon
1989 - 1991
Walter “Walt” Dallenbach
1991 - 1994
1994 - 1997
Robert A. “Bob” Richards
1997 - 1998
Michael “Micky” Varga
1998 - 2000
Ernest “Ernie” Stofko
2000 - 2001
Robert A. “Bob” Richards
2001 - 2003
Richard Craparotta “Richie”
2003 - 2005
Ronald D. “Ron” Dixon
2005 - 2010
History of The American Legion, Joyce Kilmer, Post 25, Department of New Jersey
One thing that comes out continuously throughout this entire history of Post 25 and Post 173, Dept, of New Jersey, is that these posts have had some very diligent hard working members “Still Serving America”. This drive has made Post 25 one of the strongest and largest posts in New Jersey. This legacy needs to be maintained and continued into the future.
While researching all the Post material for this synopsis of the History of Post 25, 1 came across the following from retiring Post Commander Walter Dallenbach which was in the Spring/Summer edition of The Kilmer Report. “During my tenure, I was fortunate enough to be invited and participate at County and State legion functions. On each occasion, after being introduced as the Commander of Post 25, legion members from other posts would always say, ‘You’re the Post that works together real well.’ This reputation throughout the state that Post 25 enjoys did not start three years ago, rather it has been a continuing effort by the members since the merger.” This sums it up 100%, it has been the combined working together of many members over the years that has made Post 25 one of the best American Legion posts in New Jersey.
The American Legion, Post 25, Department of New Jersey is named after the Poet Joyce Kilmer. While researching this effort, I came across a publication put out by the Middlesex County Cultural and Heritage Commission in 1986. Following is it’s contents.
New Brunswick, New Jersey
Joyce Kilmer spent twenty of his thirty-one years in New Brunswick. His wife was from Metuchen and he was married there. It is fitting that the Middlesex County Cultural and Heritage Commission take notice of the centennial of his birth of his American poet and hero.
There are many reminders of him in the area: Joyce Kilmer Avenue (renamed in 1961 form Codwise Avenue), Joyce Kilmer Park, Camp Kilmer, the Kilmer Postal Facility, Joyce Kilmer American Legion Post No. 25, a former telephone exchange Kilmer and several business enterprises using the name. In Western North Carolina there is Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest. In Brooklyn there is a Joyce Kilmer Square.
The seventy-fifth anniversary of Kilmer’s birth was observed in New Brunswick on December 6, 1961 by the local American Legion post. Plans are now underway to mark his one-hundreth year in appropriate ways.
It is hoped that his booklet may serve to enlighten those who may read it
concerning Joyce Kilmer’s life and place in literature.
Richard G. Dumin
Middlesex County Cultural and
Middlesex County Historian
JOYCE KILMER AND NEW BRUNSWICK, NEW JERSEY
BIRTH. FAMILY AND CHILDHOOD.
The year 1986 marks the centennial of the birth of Alfred Joyce Kilmer, American poet, essayist, editor and World War I casualty. Kilmer was bom on December 6, 1886 in the central New Jersey college and manufacturing city of New Brunswick, the county seat of Middlesex County. His parents were Frederick
Barnett Kilmer (1851 - 1934) and Annie Kilbum Kilmer (c.1851 - 1932). The
family lived in a two and one-half story frame house at 17 Codwise Avenue, now known as Joyce Kilmer Avenue. Joyce was bom in the front upstairs bedroom of this house..
The Kilmer family had moved to New Brunswick from Binghamton, New York in the 1880s. Dr. Kilmer was a chemist by profession and had an establishment in New Brunswick for a few years before he joined the new Johnson & Johnson Company (established 1886), manufacturers of surgical supplies, in 1889. At J&J, he became head of the Scientific Department where research was carried on, and he is credited with developing the famous J&J baby powder.
The Kilmers were
Alfred Joyce Kilmer ( December 6 1886 - July 30, 1918) was an American journalist, poet, literary critic, lecturer ,and editor. Though a prolific poet whose works celebrated the common beauty of the natural world as well as his religious faith, Kilmer is remembered most for a poem entitled "Trees" (1913) which was published in the collection Trees and Other Poems in 1914. While most of his works are unknown, a select few of his poems remain popular and are published frequently in anthologies. Several critics, both Kilmer's contemporaries and modem scholars, disparaged Kilmer's work as being too simple, overly sentimental, and that his style was far too traditional, even archaic.
At the time of his deployment to Europe during the first World War (1914-1918), Kilmer was considered the leading American Roman Catholic poet and lecturer of his generation, whom critics often compared to British contemporaries G. K. Chesterton (1874-1936) and Hilaire Belloc (1870-1953). A sergeant in the 165th U.S. Infantry Regiment, Kilmer was killed at the Second Battle of Mame in 1918 at the
Though a prolific poet, Joyce Kilmer is chiefly known for a poem entitled "Trees" published in a collection entitled Trees and Other Poems (1914), after debuting in Poetry magazine in August 1913. Joyce Kilmer wrote "Trees" on 2 February 1913, in the Kilmer home in Mahwah, New Jersey. The poem was dedicated to Mrs. Henry Mills Alden, (Ada Foster Murray Alden), his wife's mother and a poet in her own right. Other sources, which state it was written in Chicago, are unsubstantiated. "Trees" has been given several musical settings that were quite popular in the 1940s and 1950s, the most popular written by Oscar Rasbach in 1922, with renditions performed by Ernestine Schumann-Heink, John Charles Thomas, Nelson Eddy, Robert Merrill and Paul Robeson.
The text stated below is the original written by Kilmer.
I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest Against the earth's sweet flowing breast; A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray; A tree that may in summer wear A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain. Poems are made by fools like me, But only God can make a tree.
There have been several variations on the text, including many parody texts substituted to mimic Kilmer's seemingly simple rhyme and meter. Of the often repeated parodies, one of the most known is "Song of the Open Road" by Ogden Nash (1902-1971) in which Nash wrote:
I think that I shall never see
A billboard lovely as a tree. Indeed, unless the billboards fall, I'll never see a tree at all.
According to Kilmer's son, Kenton, the poem—which was not inspired by any specific tree but about trees in general—was written "...in an upstairs bedroom... which served as Mother's and Dad's bedroom and also as Dad's office.... The window looked out down a hill, on our well-
wooded lawn - trees of many kinds, from mature trees to thin saplings: oaks, maples, black and white birches, and I do not know what else." However, a 1915 interview with Kilmer "pointed out that while Kilmer might be widely known for his affection for trees, his affection was certainly not sentimental - the most distinguished feature of Kilmer's property was a colossal woodpile outside his home. The house stood in the middle of a forest and what lawn it possessed was obtained only after Kilmer had spent months of weekend toil in chopping down trees,pulling up stumps, and splitting logs. Kilmer's neighbors had difficulty in believing that a man
who could do that could also be a poet."
Many locations across the United States maintain legends that certain trees in their localities inspired Kilmer to write the poem. Most noted among them is the tradition in Kilmer's birthplace, New Brunswick. New Jersey, which states that Kilmer wrote the poem "Trees" after a
large white oak ( Quercus alba) tree that was located on the outskirts of town on the campus of Cook College (now known as the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences), at Rutgers University.1^1 This tree, estimated to be over three hundred years old, was so weakened by age
and disease that it had to be removed in 1963. Currently, saplings from acorns of the historic tree
are being grown at the site, throughout the Middlesex County area, and in major arboretums around the United States. The remains of the original Kilmer Oak are currently kept in storage at Rutgers University.
Guv Davenport suggests quite a different inspiration. "Trees were favorite symbols for Yeats, Frost, and even the young Pound. [ . . . ] But Kilmer had been reading about trees in another context [,] the movement to stop child labor and set up nursery schools in slums. [ . . . ] Margaret McMillan . . . had the happy idea that a breath of fresh air and an intimate acquaintance with grass and trees were worth all the pencils and desks in the whole school system. [ . . . ] The English word for gymnasium equipment is 'apparatus.' And in her book Labour and Childhood (1907) you will find this sentence: 'Apparatus can be made by fools, but only God can make a tree.' "
Criticism and influence
Joyce Kilmer's reputation as a poet is staked largely on the widespread popularity of one poem, namely "Trees". His untimely death removed from him the opportunity to develop into a more mature poet. Because "Trees" is often dismissed by modern critics and scholars as simple verse,
much of Kilmer's work, especially his literary criticism, has slipped into obscurity. Only a very few of his poems have appeared in anthologies, and with the exception of "Trees" and to a much lesser extent "Rouge Bouquet", almost none have obtained lasting widespread popularity.
The entire corpus of Kilmer's work appears in the early years of the modernist movement, especially before the influence of the Lost Generation. In the years after Kilmer's death, poetry went in new directions, as is seen especially in the work of T. S. Eliot (1888-1965) and Ezra Pound. The years in which Kilmer was writing, and the conservatism and traditional style he used, were the last of the Romantic era. Kilmer's poetry is often criticized for failing to break free of traditional modes, rhyme and meter, or themes, and for being too sentimental to be taken seriously.
Kilmer's early works were inspired by, and were imitative of, the poetry of Algernon Charles Swinburne. Ernest Dowson. Aubrey Beardsley, and William Butler Yeats. It was later through the influence of works by Coventry Patmore. Francis Thompson, and those of Alice Mevnell and her children Viola Mevnell and Francis Mevnell. that Kilmer seems to have become interested in Catholicism. Kilmer wrote of his influnces:
"I have come to regard them with intense admiration. Patmore seems to me to be
a greater poet than Francis Thompson. He has not the rich vocabulary, the decorative erudition, the Shelleyan enthusiasm, which distinguish the 'Sister Songs' and the 'Hound of Heaven,' but he has a classical simplicity, a restraint and sincerity which make his poems satisfying."
Because he was initially raised Episcopalian (or Anglican), Kilmer became literary editor of the Anglican weekly, The Churchman, before his conversion to Roman Catholicism. During this time he did considerable research into 16th and 17th century Anglican poets as well as
metaphysical, or mystic poets of that time, including George Herbert. Thomas Traherne. Robert Herrick. Bishop Coxe. and Robert Stephen Hawker, the Vicar of Morwenstow. the latter whom he referred to as "a coast life-guard in a cassock." These poets also had an influence on Kilmer's
Dedication plaque in the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest.
Several municipalities across the United States have named parks, schools and streets and squares in honor of Joyce Kilmer, including his hometown of New Brunswick. New Jersey, which renamed Codwise Avenue, the street on which he was born, "Joyce Kilmer Avenue."
- In the 1940 film, The Fighting 69th directed by William Keighley and starring
James Cagney. Kilmer is depicted as a minor character played by actor Jeffrey
- Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest (3,800 acres/15 km2) located in the Nantahala National Forest, near Robbinsville in Graham County. North Carolina was dedicated in Kilmer's memory on 10 July 1936.
- Camp Kilmer, opened in 1942 in what is now Edison. New Jersey, an
embarkation center for soldiers going to the European theatre during World
War n. Many of the original buildings remain, and it is now the location of
the Livingston campus of Rutgers University where a library is named after
- The State of New Jersey and the New Jersey Turnpike Authority have named a rest area on the New Jersey Turnpike, located in East Brunswick Township after him.
- The Philolexian Society of Columbia University, a collegiate literary society of which Kilmer was Vice President, holds the annual Joyce Kilmer Memorial Bad Poetry Contest in his honor.
- Joyce Kilmer Park, is located along the Grand Concourse in the Bronx. The
park is located very close to Yankee Stadium.
- In 2007 a Kilmer conference was held in New Brunswick. New Jersey
o The City of Chicago, Illinois has a public school named Joyce Kilmer
Elementary School, located in the north side, Rogers Park neighborhood.
6 December 1886.
New Bmnswick. New Jersey (USA)
30 July 1918 (aged 31)
near Seringes-et-Nesles. France
His last poem, written on the battlefield in France shortly before his death is entitled The
Upon his will binds a radiant chain,
For Freedom’s sake he is no longer free.
It is his task, the slave of Liberty,
With his own blood to wipe away a stain,
That pain may cease, he yields his flesh to pain.
To banish war, he must a warrior be,
He dwells in Night, eternal Dawn to see,
And gladly dies, abundant life to gain
What matters Death, if Freedom be not dead?
No flags are fair, if Freedom’s flag be furled.
Who fights for Freedom, goes with Joyful tread
To meet the fires of Hell against him hurled,
And had for Captain Him whose thorn-wreathed head
Smiles from the Cross upon a conquered world.
Joyce Kilmer 1886-1918