General Leonard E. Wood American Legion Post 162


 2021 Activities


Veterans Never Stop Giving


SAL member Dennis Cesa helped box up the cards and letters for the troops.  He took three of the boxes we filled to the post office and mailed them.   He told his 89 year old brother-in-law, Robert TanEyck, who  is a  Korean War vet, and served in the U.S. Army Reserve, who served two tours. When Dennis told him about the clothing drive that the Legion recently did.  he said – “I wish I could get involved with things like that now but – I just can’t.”  He and Dennis’s sister used to volunteer for all kinds of efforts – dog rescue at the top of their list. But he – just can’t.  Dennis suggested a way for him to help by paying the postage on the three boxes of cards and letters to the troops.

 So –--the postage incurred for the mailing of those three boxes will be underwritten by Private Robert TenEyck, Veteran, United States Army Reserve.  And Bob is happy; because he did something.  On his next visit Dennis presented Robert with a legion Certificate of Appreciation.(pictured below)




In Memoriam

The following Legionnaires were transferred to Post Everlasting during 2021. Their Honorable Service to our Country will not be forgotten.


Robert Benden             WWII                   USA

John  Gallo                    Korea                   USA

William McAndrews      Vietnam                USA

Max Arnowitz               Vietnam                USA

Ron Pearsall                  Korea                   USA

Stephen Moshac           Korea                   USAF

Robert Breitenbach      Vietnam               USA

Philip Krey                     Korea                   USN

Nat Lucarello                Korea                   USN



Post 162 Supports Bergen County Tracers Program


While Bergen County has virtually eliminated homelessness for veterans through their many programs,  there are still many veterans in need of support.  They may not be homeless but their need for warm and useful clothing is always present. American Legion Post 162 continues to support the Bergen County Veterans Department’s Tracer Program which provides clothing for these men and women.  As winter approaches, warm clothing is desperately needed.  On December 14th, the Post turned over a large quantity of clothing to Richard Daul of the County Veterans Department.  In addition to “like new” donated clothing that can be used for job interviews, the Post provided thousands of dollars of items that will keep them warm in the winter months.  This includes sweat shirts and pants, thermal underwear, socks and gloves.  The Post worked with Rugged Outfitters in Park Ridge to acquire several thousand dollars of these items at a discount.  Pictured are Past Commander Phil Langner who coordinated the program, Commander Doug Frank and Richard Daul of Bergen County.  For more information on how you can help






Pascack Valley High School Veterans Project


The PV History Club, under the direction of Ms. Leah Jerome, Social Studies teacher, has created a display dedicated to graduates of the High School who served in the military or are serving the military. It includes a display of pictures of those currently on active duty, a display of those who have given their lives in service to our country, and a video slide show of all graduates of the High School who have served. If you are a graduate of PV or a family member is, who served in the military, you/they should be included.


This is a great way to create awarness of the service and sacrifice of our local residents.




Cards and Letters Going to the Troops

From L to R  Phile Fonde, Rich Correri,Tom Robinson, John Hering, Dennis Cesa, Phil langner, Scott Miller, Kathy Maalouf, Mike Gela, Don Averna, Joe Sgroi, Rob Smith, Doug Frank


Post 162 Donates to Hillsdale Helping Hillsdale


HHH provides emergency support and help to residents in need.  They do it by paying utility bills or other incidental expenses for those who have run into a serious  problem, whether it be health or job related.  They regularly support veterans and widows of veterans in need.  The Post continues its policy of making local charities its highest priority. In advance of the holidays, the Post donated $1,000 to HHH.



Pictured L to R.  Past Commandeer Phil Langner, Lois Kohan, Cory Schroeder, Valarie Schroeder and Lillian Jeffry of HHH,  Vice Commander Mike Gela and  Commander Doug Frank




Post 162 Veterans Speak to Students at the Bergen Academies


The post was contacted by a member of the student government at the County School. They wanted to have all their students have an opportunity to hear from and speak with U.S. Military Veterans. Intial comments were that very few of the students had ever met a veteran and did not really understand what we have done.  Due to Covid it was rescheduled from a live meeting to a series of Zoom Calls on November 16th.

Post Volunteers were Joe Sgroi USN, Kathy Maalouf USN, Bob Sandt USA, Vic Tuohy USA and Jim Gerbig USN


The Marathon Sessions started early and ran for five different classes.  They were well received.  Thank you to these post members for their participation.  Supporting Youth programs is one of the Four Pillars of the American Legion


Cards and Letters to the Troops


General Leonard E. Wood American Legion Post 162 in Hillsdale is requesting the community and local schools, churches and scouts to write letters and cards to our local troops now serving on active duty. The Commander stated that "Anyone who has served in the military and has been away over the holidays knows how much it means to receive mail from home."

The letters and cards may be addressed to one of the names below, or left blank, which will be distributed to this list and others. All should be placed in drop off boxes in the River Vale Boro Hall, Hillsdale Boro Hall lobby, Hillsdale Post Office or Library during regular business hours.


Do not stamp letters, we will bulk mail. Last date for pick-up is December 9th. For further information email

 Holiday Cards and Letters for the Troops

 Local Men And Women Currently On Active Duty Are:

 Robert C. Saul, United States Army

James Gunther, United States Navy

Nicholas Vicchio, United States Navy

Zoltan Horvath lll, United States Marine Corp

Cadet Thomas Uhl, United States Coast Guard

David James West, United States Navy

Sean Tocci, United States Coast Guard

Chris Vetterlien, United States Air Force

Steven Paskas, United States Navy

Brian McKenna, United States Space Force


They may not be home for the holidays so bring a bit of home to them….. Please write a card or letter.



PASCACK VALLEY—American Legion Post 162 of Hillsdale, Woodcliff Lake, and Old Tappan seek the names of local active duty members of the military for the post’s Cards and Letters to the Troops program. The post collects letters and holiday cards from the public, including many from local schools, and forwards them to the troops just before the winter holidays.


American Legion Post 162 Commander Douglas Frank says, “Help us to brighten the holidays for those who are serving our country — both at home and abroad. If you have a family member or friend who entered the service from the Pascack Valley and would like them to receive holiday greetings from the folks in the valley, let us know.”

He adds, “All information, other than their name and branch of service, will be kept strictly confidential in the program. We need their name, branch of service, rank, home town and current address. Please include your name and email address.”

Send the information to

General Leonard E. Wood Post 162’s active membership includes veterans from the greater Pascack Valley, Northern New Jersey, and out of state. Its primary mission is to support and advocate for veterans, active military, and their families, and to foster patriotism and responsible citizenship to all.


Post 162 Donates $1,000 to the Helping Hands Food Pantry

American Legion Post 162 in Hillsdale presented a $1000 donation to the Helping Hands Food Pantry. The Pantry serves many families in need throughout the Pascack Valley. Currently, donations are desperately needed due to the food supply shortages that are affecting many across the country. Both food and cash donations are needed, especially ahead of the upcoming holidays. Learn what items are needed and how you can help from their website.



Pictured are L to R. Susan Gleason, George Kritzler, Lois Kohan, Phil Langner, Mike Gela, Joe Sgroi, Don Averna, Phil Fonde, Tony NGO, Raymond Kohan
Veterans Day Ceremony in Hillsdale
Past Commander Phil Langner, Vice Commander Mike Gela and Historian Jim Gerbig conducted the ceremony which was well attended.
See photos here


 2021 Boys State and Girls State Attendees

Boys State & Girls State, sponsored by the American Legion, is truly a lifetime experience for qualified High School Juniors. The programs are run each year for a week in June at two New Jersey Colleges. The Boys and Girls State experiences, by way of active participation in the development of a “mythical” government, immerses our youth into the fundamentals of active democracy.

These one week programs educate our youth in the duties, rights, privileges and responsibilities of American citizenship. They take our youth to the roots of self-government and provide a deep understanding and appreciation of the workings of government as our Founding Fathers intended. These programs have been considered by some as “the week that shapes the future” and can be very valuable to have on college applications.

Interested students should contact their guidance counselor or the American Legion Legion to better understand the life-long benefits that begin with attendance at these programs.

American Legion Post 162 sponsored the following from Pascack Valley in 2021: Maia Klarin  (Girls State), Luke Visco, Avi Weiss and Thomas DeWitt (Boys State). The Post also sponsored Matthew Kim from Bergen Catholic. Pictured are Maia, Matthew, Luke and Avi when they attended the Post 162 meeting and described their experiences to Post members.





Louisa Ghiberti-Toledo named Bergen County  Veteran of the Week

Post 162 Legionnaire honored by Bergen County Commissioner Tanelli.

Click Here to read the story.




 Post Officers for 2021


On June 30th, American Legion Post 162 of Hillsdale, Woodcliff Lake and Old Tappan resumed their general meetings after canceling them for 16 months due to Covid.  The first order of business was to install the officers for the next year. This was done by Bergen County Vice Commander Ray Stitz.   As part of the meeting the actions that the Post took during the shutdown were reviewed.  The Post continued its support for the Bergen County Veterans Tracer program in both 2020 and 2021. They also continued their support for Hillsdale Helping Hillsdale, the Paramus Veterans Home and the Hillsdale Library American Legion collection. Young men and women were sponsored for attendance at Boys State and Girls State programs. Most importantly the Post led Memorial Day services both years with 2021 being opened up to the public.


Pictured from L to R

Ray Stitz, Chaplain Ray Matz, Finance Officer Phil Langner, Adjutant Phil Fonde, Service Officer Fred Grimaldi, Judge Advocate Kathy Maalouf,  Vice Commanders Mike Gela and Joe Sgroi and  Commander Doug Frank.Missing are Historian Jim Gerbig and Sgt at Arms Tom Robinson




Memorial Day In Hillsdale

Due to Covid, the Parade was canceled, but the ceremony was not.  It turned out to be  a great and respectful ceremony with the Pascack Valley High School Band supporting us.  We had the Rhode Island Infantry on hand for a rifle salute.  Mike Gela was the Grand Marshall and Frank Glucker was recognized for 75 yers service in the American Legion.


The theme for this year was "Honoring The Revolutionary War Heroes Who Fought & Died On The Battlefields Of New Jersey, " .

To see pictures of the event click here.




Donation to Paramus Veterans Home


Earlier this year we donated to the Eagle Scout project of Alex Saldana.  The project was to provide clothing and body wash to the Veterans Home.  It was so successful that they were able to provide supplies to all three NJ Veterans Homes. On Friday June 25, the donations were presented to the Paramus Home.  It was attended by a number of veterans groups. Sr. Vice Commander Gela, Adjutant Fonde and Commander Frank were in attendance.





2021 Poppy Drive

The members of American Legion Post 162 in Hillsdale would like to thank these local businesses and their customers for their generous support for our annual Poppy Drive. Their donations fund our support for veterans, their families and active duty personnel in need. The American Legion Poppy Drive is normally held in May to lead up to Memorial Day, a solemn holiday that recognizes those who made the ultimate sacrifice in military service to our country. Pictured with Post 162 Sr. Vice Commander Mike Gela are (clockwise from top right) Mr. Lawrence Zbikowski, Manager of Kings Supermarket, Matt Cavanaugh, Manager of Nicholas Fresh Grocer , and Ted Strangfeld, Manager of Bottle King. Inserra Shop Rite made a monetary donation to the fund this year. Without these patriotic organizations, we would not be able to fulfill our missiont of support for veterans





Post 162 and Park Ridge Elks Support Bergen County Tracers Program


American Legion Post 162 and the Park Ridge Elks #2234 have worked together to support veterans causes for many years.  These coordinated activities are led by Phil Langner who is a Past Commander of the Legion Post  and a Past Exalted Ruler of the Elks Lodge..  As a continuation of their donation to the Tracers Program run by Bergen County Veterans Affairs, Post 162 donated socks and knitted woolen shawls to the program.  Phil also worked with the Elks to obtain a grant from their national organization for the program as well. The Lodge used the grant to buy additional clothing and Kindle tablets for the veterans to use.   Bergen County Veterans Affairs Director A. J. Luna commented that the support from these organizations is critical to the continued success of the veteran's support Tracer program of the County. Past Commander Langner stated that both organizations welcome public support for these activities. The pandemic has made these donations more critical than ever.  Due to current Covid conditions, only cash donations are accepted at this time. To donate you can do so at, or Elks Lodge PO Box 42 in Park Ridge, NJ 07656.



Pictured are

Legion Commander Doug Frank, Phil Langner, Bergen County Director A.J. Luna, Elks Veterans Committee Person Bev Mancini, Elks Exalted Ruler Ken Reynalds 





Post 162 Supports Eagle Scout Project for Veterans Home

Pictured are Melissa Saldana, Vice Commander Mike Gela, Alex Saldana, Doug Frank, David Saldana

American Legion Post 162 in Hillsdale made a $1,000 donation to the Eagle Scout project of Alex Saldana of Troop 36 in Oradell. Alex, who is a student at Riverdell High School, is collecting clothes and contributions for necessities for the residents of the NJ State Veterans Home in Paramus. He will provide undershirts, socks, sweatpants tee shirts and personal hygiene items. His project was brought to the attention of the Post by the Bergen County Legion Adjutant. Alex's mother Melissa and his father David have strong ties to the military. His father has served in the both the Marine Corps. and the US Army.

Post 162 has been a strong supporter of the Veterans Home for many years, providing donations and sponsoring monthly Bingo games.  The pandemic, which devastated the Veterans Home and spurred investigations and many changes, put the Post's activities on hold.  While still under investigation, the Home is slowly recovering and Alex identified these needs and that the Home can now accept these items. Alex was also in the news last year for playing taps every week at the Home as well as assisting in planting American Flags for each resident who passed away from Covid.

Vice Commander Mike Gela, who coordinates the Post's activities with the Home, also directs its annual Poppy Program.  Last year students Jennifer Pulsiano and Angelina Giustra in Mr. Jeff Jasper's AP Government class at Pascack Valley High School, held a virtual Poppy Drive at the school and directed the donations to the Post for the Veterans Home. With the issues at the Home, the Post put the donation on hold. Now the Post is using their donation and adding to it, to support Alex's project.  Commander Doug Frank and VC Mike Gela both expressed their thanks to the ladies, who have now graduated from PVHS, and to Alex for his project to provide these needed items to our aging veterans. The American Legion has a long record of support for scouting. Remembering and supporting those who served in the U.S. military is one of the key objectives of the Legion.



Post 162 was contacted by Ms. Leah Jerome, Social Studies Teacher, and Thomas McDevitt, Student Council, to see if we would participate in a contact program with our veterans.  We agreed and 17 members signed up to take phone calls from students to discuss our pre-military, military, and post military lives. The program was judged a success and our members and the students all had a chance for meaningful discussions.

Post 162 Members who participated are:

Don Averna                                                           USA  Vietnam

Jim Gerbig                                                            USN  Gulf War

Guido Borella                                                        USA WWII

Ron Kriegl                                                             USA Vietnam

Phil Langner                                                         USA Vietnam

Al Foti                                                                    USAF   Korea

Phil Fonde                                                             USA   Vietnam

Scott Pomygalski                                                  USA War on Terror

Andrew Elbert                                                       USN War on Terror

George DeRosa                                                     USN Korea

Robert Keil                                                            USA Korea

Joe Sgroi                                                               USN Vietnam

Zoltan Horvath                                                      USA   Vietnam

Doug Frank                                                            USN Vietnam

John McGoldrick                                                    USN Vietnam

Garry Pinke                                                            USN Vietnam

Ji Ho Park                                                               USN War on Terror





Another Post 162 Honoree as Bergen County Veteran of the week.

Click here to see the page for Past Commander Phil Langner. 



Past Commander George DeRosa was honored as Veteran of the Week by Bergen County.

See the link here