Sussex Elks salute veterans

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  • Photos by Viktoria-Leigh Wagner Veterans Elks Chaplin Frank Kreutle and two-year Sussex Elks Trustee Jim Adams present the wreath laying during the ceremony.

  • Antonio Del Valle performing 'Taps' on the trumpet to honor all veterans during the 'Salute to Our Veterans' ceremony.

  • Sussex Elks House Committee and Lodge No. 2288 Treasurer Richard Green reciting the opening prayer for the ceremony

  • From left, American Legion Post No. 157 members Sonny Draughon, Carl Russell and Patrick Raabe

MONTAGUE — The Elks organization's motto is that no veteran will ever be forgotten.

To that end, the Sussex Elks Lodge hosted its second annual 'Salute to Our Veterans' wreath-laying ceremony.

Veteran Jim Adams of Sussex, who has been an Elks trustee for two years coordinated the ceremony with Sussex Elks Lodge Committee Chairpersons Patty and Richard Green, their daughter Ashley Green and veteran Frank Kreutle.

“The Monument is a nice, central location,” Adams said. Standing 220 feet high, the obelisk was built by Colonel Anthony R. Kuser and wife, Susie, of Bernardsville to commemorate the war dead. Mason Michael Maddaluna began construction of the tower in 1928 before its completion two years later.

Following the wreath-laying, more than 110 veterans and community members were served dinner at the Sussex Elks Lodge 2288 — located 152 Route 565 in Sussex.

An additional 80 people were served a complimentary dinner back at the Lodge. Non-veteran dinners cost $10 each.

“Any veteran that puts on a uniform and serves any kind of duty makes a sacrifice, as does his or her family,” Adams said.

High Point Regional High School sophomore Kelly Wask, 16, sang the National Anthem, transitioning the ceremony into the hands of guests including Wantage Township Committeeman Ronald Bassani, N.J. District Five Director Robert Pettet, Assemblyman Parker Space, Sussex County Freeholders Dennis Mudrich and Richard Vohden, County Clerk Jeff Parrott and state Sen. Steve Oroho.

Public Relations Chairwoman Patty Green has been involved with Sussex Elks Lodge 2288 for almost 10 years.

“Every year around Memorial Day as the nation honors fallen soldiers, the Sussex Elks Lodge 2288 holds a ‘Salute to Our Veterans’ event to not only honor the soldiers that gave their lives for our country but also to recognize the service and sacrifices of those who were fortunate enough to come home," she said.

According to the Greens, the Elks was one of the first fraternal organizations to formally welcome home veterans currently serving in the Middle East.

“This day was held in gratitude for veterans in Sussex County and all over the country,” Oroho said. “I see the sense of duty our veterans have for each other and for us, so therefore when there’s a ceremony like this, I feel compelled to attend.”

Both of Oroho’s sons are servicemen.

“My youngest son James was just commissioned as a second lieutenant and just reported to Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri," Oroho said. "He’s going to be stationed with the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg in North Carolina.”

Sussex Elks Lodge No. 2288 Treasurer Richard Green explained, “I’m glad we had the turnout that we did. I think it’s important that people take a minute to recognize our veterans and most importantly, be thankful for them.”

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