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      Jean Sullivan
      Communications Director
      732-473-3100 x 3060

    Page Title| Happenings News Stories  2009


    February 6, 2009

    A Monument to Our Freedom
    Jean Sullivian, February 6, 2009

    TOMS RIVER, NEW JERSEY- A statue, cast in bronze, depicting a pair of boots placed in front of a helmet perched upon a soldier’s rifle is the iconic symbol of a fallen soldier. This statue sits near the front lobby of the New Jersey Army National Guard Armory in Toms River. As a fitting tribute to the fallen soldiers which it honors, it is housed in a beautifully handcrafted glass and oak display case built by students from the OCVTS Custom Cabinetmaking class in Jackson.

    When a representative from the New Jersey Army National Guard contacted OCVTS Custom Cabinetmaking instructor Rob Gonsalves about the need for the display case, Mr. Gonsalves knew it had to be special. Design and construction began last school year. Mr. Gonsalves worked closely with three of his students: Finn Edvardsen from Point Pleasant; Nick Passarelli from Toms River; and Michael Boone, from Brick. Together they came up with a design and the students painstakingly crafted the cabinet.

    In a short ceremony at the Armory today, the students were recognized for their craftsmanship and dedication to the project by the Toms River Family Readiness Group and by Ocean County Freeholder Director Gerry Little and Freeholder Joseph Vicari.

    Chrissy Marone, President of the Family Readiness Group, which is an organization comprised of family members of soldiers deployed overseas, expressed the group’s gratitude for the students’ work.

    Freeholder Director Little spoke about the dedication of all service men and women stationed home and abroad and the importance of honoring those who have given their lives for our country. The encased statue is surrounded by the photos of the four local soldiers who have been killed in action.

    The Freeholders read a proclamation granted to OCVTS which reads “Sometimes a simple gesture says the very most. More than the materials used, it was your heart and soul that created a case that now holds a monument to our freedom, an example of true heroism. We salute you for a job well done.”


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