Old Bridge to honor its hometown heroes

Photographs of servicemen and women to be displayed on wall


Staff Writer

OLD BRIDGE — Township men and women who serve in the military are about to be honored as hometown heroes.

Mayor Jim Phillips announced this week that framed photographs of residents on active duty will be displayed on the foyer wall of the municipal center. Name, rank, branch of service and unit name will accompany each picture.

The only criteria for a person’s photo going onto the wall, Phillips said, is that they consider Old Bridge their home.

“If that’s the case,” he said, “I want them on the wall.”

The idea for the project, called the Wall of Hometown Heroes, came from many sources, Phillips said. Township Council President William Baker asks, at the beginning of each council meeting, for a moment of silence to remember U.S. troops overseas or on active duty, protecting the freedom of Old Bridge residents. Also, Phillips noted that on a recent vacation, he saw a Hall of Athletes display in an airport.

“I’m doing an awful lot of referencing for young men who want to join the military,” Phillips added.

Although people may have different views on the war, he said, support for the troops is still important.

“Only four years have passed since our country reeled from the shock of a terrorist attack,” Phillips said. “In our war on terrorism, many of our service men and women have been separated from their families and are putting their lives on the line to protect us. … We should be looking for ways to show our appreciation.”

While Phillips said he does not know the number of Old Bridge residents on active duty, he said all submitted photos will be hung in the order in which they are received. The pictures should be suitable for framing, he said. Frames will be provided.

“If a picture is sent, we will put it in the hall until the war is over, or until the serviceman or woman has completed active duty,” Phillips said.

Though the project will grow based on participation, Phillips hopes that soon residents will be able to submit photos and other requested basic information on the Internet via the township’s Web site.

Council President William Baker said this will place faces with those who serve in the military.

“This is very personal to me because I know a number of men and women serving our country,” Baker said. “This display will give Old Bridge a chance to say what these men and women mean to us and will bring us face to face with the people who are protecting our freedom every day.”

Those interested in submitting a name and photo to the Wall of Hometown Heroes should call Diane Amabile, Phillips’ assistant, at (732) 721-5600, ext. 2040.