Members of the American Veterans Association of Washington Township, post 1776, are always looking for–and taking part in–ways to keep history alive in the area.
The group has embarked on a new project with the hopes that three former Long Valley residents will forever be remembered as heroes hailing from this community.
Members Forrest Burgener, Larry Oppel, Marty Fleischer, and Tomas McBride presented an idea to the Washington Township Committee at its regular meeting Monday night, seeking approval from the five-member governing body.
“We originally wanted to have some ball fields named after our heroes,” Burgener said to the committee. “But one of our members came up with this idea to name streets in their honor instead, for our heroes.”
The AVAWT proposed the renaming of three streets–one being township property, the other two being private property–after three residents who were killed in action serving in the United States military.
As approved by the Zion Lutheran Church, both the entry way and exit access for the facility would be named after United States Marine Private Vincent E. Fields, who died March 6, 1945 in Iwo Jima, Japan.
The second road would lead into the Califon Road Cemetery, which would be named for United States Army Private First Class John L. Lindaberry, who died Nov. 16, 1967 in Vietnam.
The third and final renaming would be on township owned land; the roadway leading to the Senior Center at Rock Spring Park. This would be named after Army Corporal James “Jamie” Smith, who died Oct. 2, 1993 in Somalia.
“Jamie [Smith] was a fantastic young man,” Burgener said. “His name is still on the walls at West Morris Central where he graduated. His father lost his leg in combat and his twin brothers are currently in the Army Special Forces. We’re asking that the committee think about doing this.”
Over the course of a quick discussion, all five committee members agreed it would be the proper thing to do in honoring the town’s heroes.
“I think this is a great idea to honor our veterans,” Committeeman Dave Kennedy said. “I’m 100-percent for it.”
The committee does not have to approve the use of the private roads, just the entryway to the Senior Center, attorney John Jansen said. The governing body agreed to introduce an ordinance in January and approve it in February of 2013.
Burgener said the group would likely unveil the street signs in June, during Flag Month.