Ocean County Press Release
18 Vietnam War Veterans to Be Honored

TOMS RIVER – Ocean County will join with the Navy Lakehurst Historical Society, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, local veterans' organizations and businesses in honoring 18 Vietnam War veterans who are former Prisoners of War.

"We welcome these men and their families to Ocean County," said Ocean County Freeholder Joseph H. Vicari. "They have made great sacrifices for our Country and we want them to know Ocean County is proud of them and we respect them for their service."

Vicari along with the Toms River-Ocean County Chamber of Commerce spearheaded a fund-raising effort to make certain the veterans could attend the annual POW/MIA observance at the Joint Base after federal budget reductions threatened the upcoming trip.

"When we learned their trip may have to be cancelled, efforts got under way immediately to assure it would not be," Vicari said. "I want to thank the many individuals, veterans' organizations, and businesses that helped in making certain these veterans would be able to attend this event."

Carl Jablonski, President of the Navy Lakehurst Historical Society, recently thanked the Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders for its support.

"These men are from New Jersey and across the country," Jablonski said. "With your help and the help of the community we will be able to provide them with the recognition they deserve."

The Vietnam War era veterans will participate in a meet and greet at the American Legion on Church Road, here, the evening of Sept. 11 and on Sept. 12 they will participate in the ribbon cutting of the new Vietnam War display at the Joint Base's Navy Lakehurst. They also will meet with personnel from the Joint Base.

The veterans will be in Ocean County until Friday, Sept. 13.
Jablonski said the theme of this year's event is to recognize the 40th Anniversary of the onset of the POWs release and the 50th Anniversary of the beginning of the Vietnam War.

"Ocean County is home to more than 65,000 veterans," said Ocean County Freeholder Gerry P. Little, who serves as liaison to the Ocean County Veterans Service Bureau. "We are pleased that so many people stepped up in order to host these men who have given so much to our country."

Ocean County Freeholder Director John P. Kelly, Director of Law and Public Safety, also commended Freeholders Vicari and Little and all the organizations and individuals who made the trip possible.

"Ocean County takes great pride in the men and women that serve in the military forces," Kelly said. "The help provided highlights the spirit of patriotism found here in Ocean County."

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