West Long Branch:West Long Branch Mayor Janet Tucci welcomed guests and visitors to the WLB Community Center Monday as the borough recognized the services of past and present military members whose sacrifices deserve remembrance and respect for their commitment and dedication to our country.
Mayor Tucci introduced special speaker, Lt. Col. Michael LaPoint who serves with the New Jersey National Guard as the Executive Officer for the 57th Troop. LaPoint has served a 24 year career that has included combat and non-combat environments in duty that meant an assignment in Iraq from 2004 and 2005, followed by serving as the executive officer with the 150th Assault Helicopter Battalion. He has been appointed by New Jersey with numerous domestic operations including assists on September 11, 2001 and Superstore Sandy. And is currently enrolled in the US Army War College.
Lt. Col. LaPoint spoke about the history of Decoration Day, now named Memorial Day and its beginnings following the Civil War to help in reuniting a divided country.
Mayor Tucci recognized past and present service members for their unselfish contributions.
The traditional ceremony of placing wreathes at the monument at the open lawn of the Community Center went to the Mayor and Council, The Borough Fire Department, First Aid, Police Department, Chamber of Commerce, the Community Center, the Leisure Club, the Historical Society, and Peter Cooper Village.
In the closing moments of the ceremony, Mayor Tucci said "We are the Home of the Free, because of the Brave...God Bless America."