General Leonard E. Wood American Legion Post 162






Holiday Cards and Letters to the Troops

The  Post  collected several thousand Holiday cards and letters for 20 active duty service men and woman from the area. The cards and letters were collected from the residents, scouts and schools in Hillsdale, River Vale, and beyond. Participating schools were Hillsdale’s Smith, Meadowbrook, George White and St. John’s. Also students from Pascack Valley High School, River Vale Roberge School, New Milford High  School, Old Tappan DeWolf school and a number of scout groups submitted cards and letters. The latest edition of Pascack Press was included in each shipment to bring some news from home. Thanks to all those who helped pack and mail the packages.  Pictured from left to right:
Doug Frank, Jim Gerbig, Bud Heymann, Rich Correri, Ray Jean, Bob Karlson, Ellen Jean, Joe Sgroi, Marianne Heymann, Phil Fonde, Bob Abbadie, Mike Gela


Bingo at the NJ State Veterans Home in Paramus

Vice Commander Mike Gela wrapped up another year running our Bingo Program at the Home.  At the sesson on December 13th, in additon to donating cash prizes to the winners, the Post handed out knit scarves, hats and shawls.  These are made by the Prayer Shawl Ministry and given to the Post to distrinbute to Veterans.  The Post continues its program from year to year providing support for the residents of the home.  Residents love getting the cash prizes and were very pleased to accept the knitted donations.  Mike is always looking for volunteers to help at the monthly Bingo games we host.  If you are interested in joining, please contact Mike.  While it only takes about an hour, the good feelings you get from helping lasts a long, long time.





Hillsdale Police Honor Vietnam Veterans

Chief Robert Francaviglia and Captain Sean Smith continued their program to honor Hillsdale's veterans.  They have already visited and presented plaques to WWII and Korean War veterans.  This year they presented plaques to all the Vietnam Vets who attended the ceremony in Veterans Park on 11/11 /18.  On Wednesday November 21st they surprised several members when they delivered plaques to them at home.  Past Commander Zoltan Horvath, who photographed the presentations and Vice Commander Doug Frank were there to allay any fears our vets had when two imposing Police Officers knocked on their doors. Some were in their bathrobes and others in pajamas, but they were all thrilled to get the plaques.  This program is just another example of the community relations in which the Hillsdale Police do such a great job.

Top left to right:  Bob Breitenbach USA; Fred Franco USA; Tom Ivancich USA;  Sal Amitrano  USN; Bottom: Ken Gibney USMC; Phil Jones USN; Anthony Meluso USMC; Liam Doody USA; Jeff Jasper USA



Veterans Day in Hillsdale

Commander Phil Langner and Chaplain Ray Matz led the ceremony held at Hillsdale's Veterans Park at 11:11 AM on November 11th.  Below are pictures of the ceremony which was well attended.



Veterans Day In the Schools

The post visited several schools as part of their Veterans Day Programs.  We first met with the 4th grade students of Hillsdale's Smith School. The kids asked great questions and were very attentive.  We participated in a mid day ceremony at Northern Valley Old Tappan High School.  We then met with the 7th and 8th grades at St Johns Academy and shared our military experiences.  Finally we visited Smith School again to be entertained by the kindergarten kids.  Participating at the various events were:  Commander Langner, VC Mike Gela, VC Doug Frank, George DeRosa, Joe Sgroi, Don Averna, Rich Curran, John McGoldrick, Zoltan Horvath, Lou Amorati, and Garry Myers



Continuous Service Certificates

Commander Langner recognized a number of members who have held continuous membership in the Legion for a number of years.  The Certifcates ranged from 10 years service up to 45 years service. Pictured from left are Bob Abbadie, George Kritzler, Angelo Pascale, Pascal Lonergan, John Moore and George DeRosa.  Commander Langner and Vice Commander Gela are in the  back row.


Welcome New Members

Commander Langner swore in two new members at the October 3rd meeting.  Tom Robinson (left) and William McAndrews (right) joined the post. They are both U.S. Army veterans of the Vietnam War.


Boys and Girls State Attendees Speak to Members

At the October 3rd General Meeting, we heard of the experiences of two of the attendees for 2018.  Shauna McLean of Hillsdale and a senior at Pascack Valley HS attended Girls State at Georgian Court University, where she served on the Election Board. She oversaw the elections for the many elected positions during the week.  She felt the experience was great and was thankful for the opportunity.  Kevin Seo, a senior at Northern Valley Old Tappan HS attended Boys State at Ryder University.  He served on the Board of Education for the town where he was assinged.  He felt it was great experience, but did not like the food.  It was great preparation for his future in college, or the military. To see a video of their comments click here.





Post 162 Recognizes Nat Lucarello for 40 years continuous service

At our October monthly canteen, Nat received a certificate recognizing his long continuous service in the American Legion from Commander Phil Langner.  Nat, who is scheduled to be the Grand Marshall of our 2019 Memorial Day Parade, was accompanied by his friend Josephine and his aide Jessica.  He was very pleased to have two stars added to his cap to indicate his long service.  Pictured are Nat with Commander Langer, Josephine,  Jessica, and  his fellow Legionaires.


Post 162 Flag Disposal Ceremony


Proper disposal of the American Flag is defined under the United States Code, specifically, United States Code Title 4 Chapter 1 — The Flag. It also defines how and when to fly the flag. It is illegal to improperly dispose of the flag.

When flags are faded, worn or torn, they should not be displayed, but they cannot be just discarded in the trash. They should be properly disposed of, most often by burning. Veterans Organizations like Hillsdale’s American Legion Post 162 conduct disposal ceremonies where collected flags are burned under controlled conditions.

In Hillsdale, the American Legion collects faded and worn flags at the Library, Borough Hall and Shop Rite. These are then properly disposed of by Legion members under controlled conditions at the DPW yard after a permit is obtained from our Fire Prevention Officer.

Please make sure you remove worn and tattered flags and dispose of them in the provided collection boxes. Please support the efforts of the American Legion and respect our flag.
Pictured below are American Legion Post 162 Chaplain Ray Matz, Vice Commander Mike Gela and Commander Phil Langner performing the ceremony at the Hillsdale DPW.







Post 162 Donates to the Pat Tillman Foundation

September 11, 2018.  American Legion Post 162 of Hillsdale, Woodcliff Lake and Old Tappan made a formal presentation of a $500 donation to the Pat Tillman Foundation.   The donation is in support of Post Judge Advocate Kathy Maalouf's participation in the NYC Marathon in November. Kathy, who serves as a Commander in the US Navy Reserve, is participating as part of Team Red White and Blue, whose mission is to enrich the lives of America’s veterans by connecting them to their community through physical and social activity.  The Tillman Foundation is named after Pat Tillman who, after 911,  sacrificed a multi-million dollar contract with the Arizona Cardinals of the NFL to enlist in the United States Army and serve as an Army Ranger.  He was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2004 where he had participated in several combat missions.  If you are interested in donating to Kathy's 26.2 mile run, please visit this web site.  https://www.crowdrise.com/o/en/campaign/pat-tillman-foundation-nyc-2018/katherinemaalouf.  Tillman is a true example of service beyond self, someone who sacrificed everything for a cause he believed in.

Pictured are Post Commander Phil Langner,  Kathy, and Vice Commander Doug Frank







SAL Officially Received its Charter





We Must Never Forget

Members of the Post participated in the silent observance of 911 organized by the Hillsdale Fire Department.   Borough Emergency Responders  and military veterans line up facing southern Manhattan, which  was the loction of the World Trade Centers.  All come to attention and salute at the two specific times that the planes hit the towers. The observance is in silence and lasts about 25 minutes.




POW MIA Ceremony


American Legion Post 162 held its annual POW/MIA ceremony as part of its meetings on September 5th.  The Missing Man Table, also known as the Fallen Comrade Table, is a semi-official place of honor in some dining facilities of the US armed forces in memory of fallen, missing in action, or prisoner of war military service-members. The table serves as the focal point of ceremonial remembrance, originally growing out of US concern of the Vietnam War POW/MIA.

The ceremony was led by Post Chaplain Ray Matz.  The ceremony is set around a place setting on a table indicating that a member of the armed forces is still missing in action.  The recent return of United States Military remains from Korea, over 60 years after the war ended, is proof that many are still unaccounted for.

The small table is set for one, representing the frailty of one prisoner, alone against his or her suppressors.

The table is usually set close to, or within sight of, the entrance to the dining room. 

The table is round showing our everlasting concern for our POW/MIA's. 

The cloth is white symbolizing the purity of their intentions to respond to their country's call to arms. 

The single red rose signifying the blood they may have shed in sacrifice to ensure the freedom of our beloved United States of American. This rose, reminding us of the family and friends of our missing comrades who keep the faith, while awaiting their return. 

The yellow ribbon stands for the yellow ribbons worn on the lapels of the thousands who demand with unyielding determination a proper accounting of our comrades who are not among us tonight. 

A slice of lemon reminding us of the bitter fate of those missing, captured and held as prisoners in foreign lands. 

A pinch of salt denoting the tears of our missing and their families who long for answers after decades of uncertainty. 

The Holy Bible represents the strength gained through faith in our country, founded as one nation under God, to sustain those lost from our midst. 

The lighted candle reflects the light of hope which lives in our hearts to illuminate their way home, away from their captors, to the open arms of a grateful nation. 

The glass is inverted symbolizing their inability to share this evening's toast.

This ceremony is repeated around the work at Veterans Organizations and US Military bases.  Those who served will never forget their comrades.


Dedicaton of Frank A. Hill Causeway

In July 2017, the new causeway over the Woodcliff Lake dam was dedicated to Colonler Frank A. Hill, a Hillsdale resident who became one of the first Aces of the Army Air Corps in World War II.  Vice Commander, and then Mayor Doug Frank worked with Legionnaire and Hillsdale Police Captain Sean Smith to get the project completed.  Suez Water which owns the causeway gave the town the opportunity to name the causeway.  Doug and Sean worked with Suez and the Hill Family to get a plaque designed and installed. Suez paid for the plaque and the Hillsdale DPW installed it.  The Hill Family traveled from around the country to attend the dediction.  Pictured with Sean and Doug are the three children of Colonel Hill and on the far left, Rich Henning, VP of Suez. Also below is a picture of the plaque recognizing another military veteran who served our country.





Mid Summer Canteen

Post members met for coffee and donuts Wednesday August 1st.  It was an opportunity to socialize as well as to hear updates on Post Activities from Commander Langner, Adjutant Fonde and Vice Commanders Frank and Gela.  During the summer months, the officers continue to plan for the upcoming year of activities.  This way we can hit the ground running in September.  Service Officer Fred Grimaldi thanked Demarest Farms for donating the donuts for the meeting.  He claims that the thick coffee he made (that could hold up a spoon)  was Navy coffee.  But several members with first hand knowledge of Navy coffee took issue with his characterization.  Fred, an Army veteran, made some delicious coffee he presented as Army coffee.



Operation Backpack

We continue to support Operation Backpack of the Bergen County Division of Veterans Services, which is helping to provide clothing and necessities to needy veterans. At the end of June, we donated clothing that can be used  for job interviews or any other occasion where they need a dress shirt and slacks.  Pictured below on the left  with Commander Langner is   A. J. Luna the Director of the Divison of Veterans Services in Bergen County. Pictured below on the right is our February 2018 donation. The Division works hard to provide support of veterans in financial need. They recently completed installng ramps at qualified veterans homes to allow them easy access.  if you are a veteran in need, contact our Service Officer, Fred Grimaldi. 




Hillsdale Five Plaques Update

We are working with the Borough to provide better protection and landscaping around the bases of the plaques at our sports fields. They were dedicated in 2015 to honor the five young men who died while fighting for our country in Vietnam.




New Members

Pictured bleow on the left is Commander Langner and Legionnaire Joseph Sgroi.  Joe is a US Navy Veteran of the Vietnam War.  He has made an immediate impact on the post by being one of our top five Poppy Program contributors.  Congratulations Joe! Pictured below on the right with Commander Langner are new members Adam Tate, US Army (Desert Shield),  Ji Park, US Navy (Active Duty) and Tom Kelley, US Navy (Desert Shield).





Flag Services

The Post respectfully retires worn flags a couple of times a year. We are helped by the Hillsdale DPW who let us use the back of their yard for the ceremonial disposal.

One of the first things our new Sons of the Americal Legion squadron did was to replace a worn flag at the Hillsdale home of Visnu Gonzales, a disabled Marine who was seriously injured in Iraq.


Memorial Day 2018