Wantage honors resident for service

Jan 28 2019 | 01:36 AM

The Wantage Township Committee honored U.S. Navy Lieutenant Gregory Williams on Jan. 24, for the many different ways he has served both Wantage Township and America.
Mayor Ronald Bassani presented Williams a proclamation delineating his 15 years of township and Recreation Committee volunteer service — seven years of which he served as Recreation Committee president.
Later, Williams said, “It was an honor and pleasure to work with all the people throughout the years; and there was a lot of good work done by a lot of good people.”
Some of the volunteer work Williams spearheaded included completing many memorials within Wantage Township.
He explained, he always had the belief every town should have a war memorial because of the residents who had served. Wantage did not have a memorial, so the community started the project in 2006 and finished in 2010. Over months of thought, he developed the oval design and reached out to people for help. The memorial, he said, was “a huge collaboration of people.”
In order to complete the Veterans Memorial, he and Christine Keller co-founded the Veterans Car Show, thus raising the needed money faster than they had thought possible; and Williams worked with Miles Kuperus, of Farmside Landscape & Design, and Tom Madsen, of Madsen, LLC. In addition, he said, they also received very generous donations, and many contractors volunteered their time to build the memorial.
Furthermore, he added, people liked the Car Show so much, it went on for another eight years, helping raise money for other local veterans organizations.
Williams also was instrumental in the Woodbourne Park 911 Memorial. After networking and phone investigation, he secured a World Trade Center steel beam, thus, remembering the 911 first responders, who gave their lives.
He also volunteered his time, secured donations and volunteers to work on many projects beyond recreation events, including the memorial honoring the former Township Administrator James R. Doherty.
Williams concluded, “It’s nice when everybody comes together for a like-minded cause. And then to actually see it get completed — is even better.”
Above the memorials, Williams completed three overseas tours, so far, during his U.S. Navy service. While Williams was stationed in Camp Arifjanin Kuwait, he requested the American flag be flown in honor of Wantage Township. Today that flag is displayed in the Wantage Township Municipal Building, commemorating being flown for the township while in theater.
Currently, Williams is a U.S. Navy Division Officer for 40 sailors. He also facilitates and mentors college graduate STEM students into the Navy STEM Nuclear, Aviation, Civil Engineering, and Cyber Security programs.
In addition, he was the regional “Recruiter of the year 2018,” securing the most applications and selected recruits for Naval Officer Candidate School.