JACKSON – A bit of rain and some crisp autumn air wasn’t about to dampen the 11th Annual Wounded Warrior parade.
Each year the event salutes disabled veterans as well as veterans in general who assemble at the township’s Justice Complex in Jackson as they prepare for their ride over to the Central Jersey Rifle and Pistol Club on South Stump Tavern Road.
Al Dolce, the chairman of the Wounded Warrior program at the Central Rifle and Pistol Club spoke about the day’s activities while at the club following the parade. The wounded warriors received a free hunting knife, a barbecue lunch or one of the 150 sandwiches provided by Wegman’s, along with dessert.
Dolce spoke of the need for volunteers to assist the membership of his organization in helping with projects like a veterans fishing trip held each spring.
The Warriors were escorted by township police, members of the community’s volunteer fire companies, and first aid squads, motorcycle clubs as well as resident volunteers.
“Odin” who serves as the Sgt.-At-Arms of the motorcycle club Leathernecks Nation, said that most of his organization are from Ocean County. “We have six members here today. It was warmer last year but that’s okay.”
Members of the Fallen Saints and Rolling Thunder motorcycle clubs were also present for the event doing escort duties.
Also present were members of the Marine Corps League including “US Marine of the year” Anthon DiSiena, a 93-year-old World War II veteran.
“Weather never matters. There is no comparison to those sacrifices made by the those who served. We have between 20-25 wounded warrior veterans here today. It is great to see other veterans and police officers who served in the military come out to provide support for this. It is our way of saying thank you to them all,” Mayor Michael Reina said.
Reina noted that those who showed support during the program left “a lasting memory for these heroes.”
Sen. Sam Thompson was present for the event this year and he said he was glad to see the event go forward. “I served in the Korean War and my family has a military tradition. It is wonderful to see what is happening here today.”
“Mayor Reina put this together when he first came into office and I commend him for that. It is important that we as people show honor for those who paid the ultimate price and those who were injured while in service,” Jackson Councilman Scott Martin said.
Councilman Barry Calogero commented that “a rainy day is nothing compared to what the men and women who have served have gone through. I’m here to support them in the rain and see they get the honor they deserve.”
Those seeking further information about the annual parade and the Wounded Warrior program in Jackson can contact Mayor Reina’s office at 732-928-1200 ext.1211.Those interested can also e-mail Dolce at firstname.lastname@example.org.