General Leonard E. Wood American Legion Post 162



Santa Visits Post 162


At our December 3rd meeting, we voted to donate $1000 to Hillsdale Helping Hillsdale.They are in need of funds to support families in dire financial conditions, and include veterans and their widows in the population they support. Pictured are Trustee Phil Langner, HPD Chief and Santa Bob Francaviglia, Commander Doug Frank and HPD Captain, Legionnaire and Grinch Sean Smith.





Veterans Day 2022


St Johns Academy Hillsdale

Commander Doug Frank, Vice Commander Joe Sgroi and Legionnaire  Vic Tuohy met with the 7th and 8th grade students  at St. Johns on November 14th to discuss their experiences in the US Military. Doug and Joe talked about their enlisted service in the Navy and Vic told about his career as an Army Officer for 20 years. The students asked great questions and were very responsive.  After the session, Commander Frank presented Social Studies teacher Brian Curtin with a certificate of appreciation for his continued support of the youth programs of the American Legion.

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Veterans Day in Hillsdale

The ceremony was held on November 11th in Veterans Park at the memorial. Commander Frank, Chaplain Matz and Past Commander Horvath spoke. Mayor John Ruocco opened the ceremony.




Northern Valley Old Tappan HS


The Post was invited to address the student body at NVOT on November 9th as part of their Veterans Salute.  Doug Frank and Sean Smith spoke to the students about veterans and their importance to our country.  Mike Gela also attended. 



Pascack Valley Veterans Sessions


Vice Commander Joe Sgroi coordinated  the program with the high school.  Members met with students in small groups to share their experiences.

From Left to Right  Joe Sgroi, Dick Smith, Don Averna, Zoltan, George Kritzler, George Derosa, Al Foti and Guido Borella



Medal Presentation


On November 8th, Commander Frank presented the NJ Meritorious Service Medal and Certificate to Post Member John MacMahon.  John is a U.S. Navy veteran of WWII.  He is also Commander Frank's father-in-law. John commented that it is over 75 years since he received a medal for his service.  Observing the presentation is (great) grandaughter Mary.


In Memorium


We are sad to report that Rich Correri the founding Commander of Sons of the Legion Squadron 162 passed away on November 2, 2022 after a long illness.  Rich provided the needed leadership in the founding of the Squadron. 

May he rest in Peace.


Installation  of New SAL Officers


On October 27th John Hering was installed as the new Commander of the Squadron.  John had previously been Vice Commander and moved up with the resignation of founding Commander Rich Correri. Rich left due to serious health issues.  Dennis Cesa was installed as the new Vice Commander. They are pictured below taking the oath with Post Commander Frank.




2022 Boys State and Girls State Attendees

American Legion Post 162 Vice Commander Joe Sgroi presented certificates to recent attendees of American Legion Boys State and Girls State programs at the Post’s October 1st meeting, where they shared their experiences. Boys State and Girls State are programs run by the American Legion Dept. of New Jersey and consist of one week of intensive programs on government. They are for students who have just completed their junior year in high school. Boys State is held at Rider University and Girls State is held at Georgian Court University in late June. Participants create governments from the local level up to the state level, run elections and learn the basics of passing laws and operating government. Pictured with VC Sgroi are Annie Li and Emily Yoo of Bergen County Academies and Nicholas Penza of Bergen Catholic. Not pictured is Caitlyn Park also of the Bergen County Academies. Each year, the Post sponsors students who meet the qualifications for these highly recognized programs. Any local High School Junior who is interested in attending these selective programs should contact their school guidance counselor or visit the Post website at


Post to Start Wheelchair Program


We occaisonally get requests  from members for access to a wheelchair. In the past, local ambulance corps whould have them for loan. This practice stopped a while ago. We have had wheelchairs, walkers and electric scooters donated to the post. They have quickiy found a good home where they provided the needed help.  Due to a recent request for a chair, Service Officer Jim Gerbig is putting together a program to have one on hand for a veteran or family member in need.  This month Post Trustee Tom Ivancich donated a wheelchair to the post and we also had another donated by Rob Smith.  One was put to use almost immediately.  We don't have a lot of storage space, but we intend to work a program where we could have at least one, and maybe partner with local ambulance corps.  We will let you know when we are set up.  If you know of someone looking to donate or in need, let Jim know.



2022 Poppy Drive


American Legion Post 162 in Hillsdale relies on the generosity of local residents to allow us to continue our programs for the veteran and military community.  Each year we have been very fortunate to have local businesses support us during our Poppy Drive in May. The funds donated are used exclusively for those in need. This year we had support from Kings Supermarket, Bottle King, Fresh Grocer and Shop Rite. Vice Commander Mike Gela presented certificates of appreciation to Dawn Burrafato, Manager of Kings, Ted Strangfeld, Manager of Bottle King. and Matt Cavanaugh Manager of Fresh Grocer. Shop Rite in Hillsdale also provided financial support to the program.  We thank these businesses for the great role they play in our communities.


2022 Hillsdale Memorial Day Program


Post 162 led the ceremony and parade in Hillsdale.

Click Here to See the Photo Album for the Day




Legionnaire Will Tuffy raises a new American Flag at the home of Visnu Gonzalez, Post 162 member and a disabled veteran of the USMC.


Post Officers for 2022 - 2023


Officers for the next year were sworn in on June 18th by Past Commander Zoltan Horvath.


Pictured from L to R (Photo by Zoltan)

Tom Robinson, Sgt at Arms; Phil Langner, Finance Officer; Jim Gerbig Service Officer/Historian; Mike Gela, Sr. Vice Commander; Doug Frank, Commander; Joe Sgroi, Vice Commander.  Missing:  Ray Matz, Chaplain/Judge Advocate; Frank Mikulski, Adjutant


Hillsdale Memorial Day in Pictures


Poppy Drive at PVHS

For the last several years, American Legion Post 162 of Hillsdale, Woodcliff Lake and Old Tappan has been invited to help Pascack Valley High School mark Memorial Day.  Students from Mr. Jeff Jasper’s Government Class volunteer to run a Poppy Drive on two mornings the week prior to Holiday.  Students entering the school are given an opportunity to donate and receive a poppy.  This year, seniors Isaac Chung and Jack Fiorelli arranged the program. They created a unique video Public Service Announcement that started with the poem Flanders Fields. The PSA gave the reason for the Holiday and then recognized the PVHS graduates who have made the Ultimate Sacrifice while serving in the United States Military.  On the second day, the school’s History club held a ceremony in the courtyard honoring the alumni who gave their lives fighting for our country. Post Commander Doug Frank expressed his thanks to the school administration, students and Post Member Jeff Jasper for the opportunity.

Pictured l to r

Vice Commander Joe Sgroi,  Jack Fiorelli, Isaac Chung, Past Commander Phil Langner ( in back) and Commander Doug Frank



Armed Forces Day May 21, 2022

Armed Forces Day is a special holiday for people all over the world to come together and thank the men and women of the United States Armed Forces. First conceived by President Harry S. Truman, the holiday was established in 1949. The creation of a single day celebration for all five branches of the United States military made sense due to its recent unification under the Department of Defense. Today, Armed Forces Day is celebrated on the third Saturday of every May, this year falling on May 21. Be sure to  support our military!


Each year, American Legion Post 162 in Hillsdale puts new flags of the Military Branches in the Veterans Memorial. Pictured is Vice Commander Joe Sgroi raising a new Navy flag. Joe is a Navy veteran of the Vietnam War. 





Post 162 at NVOT


Post 162 was invited to attend the Northern Valley Regional High School at Old Tappan's Memorial Day Service on Thrusday May 26th.


Memorial Day Observance at NVOT


May 29, 2022



Honoring a Fallen Hero

Recently, Commander Doug Frank was contacted by Maureen Theisz of Westwood.  She is the sister of  2nd LT Peter Patrick Murner Jr., USMC, who was killed in Vietnam in 1968. In 2015 the Borough dedicated five ball fields in the names of the five young men from Hillsdale who were killed in Vietnam in 1967 and 1968. Post 162 held a fund raiser to install plaques at each of the fields. The formal dedication of the fields was done on Memorial Day 2015. The field for Peter, who was known as Rick, is located on Hillsdale Ave and is the main base ball field for town leagues.

Mrs. Theisz had kept her brother’s Marine Corps dress white uniform over all these years.  She was hoping that it could be used or preserved.  Once the condition was determined, she had it cleaned and pressed. The Legion Post replaced some missing insignias and the uniform blouse is now displayed in the entrance hall of Post 162.  On May 7th at the Post 162 monthly meeting the Uniform was unveiled and put on display. Enclosed are photos of Commander Frank and the Plaque when it was installed at the field, the uniform ready for display and a photo of 2nd LT Peter Murner.



Post 162 Collects Medications and Needed Supplies for Ukrainians


It was short notice, but we requested our Members and Sal Members to bring items needed bythe  refugees from Ukraine at our March 5th meeting.  Past Commander Phil Langner advised us of a Ukrainian Church in Clifton that was collecting the supplies. We continue to collect these needed items to support those who are victims of this war of aggression being waged by Russia against Ukraine.  Click below to see the list of items being requested. Also below is a picture of the initial items donated at the Post. Past Commander DeRosa worked with Pascack Pharmacy, who collected much of the initial supplies.

Sons of the Legion Commander Rich Correri, Past Commander Langner and Commander Frank









In Memorium


Service Officer Fred Grimaldi passed away after a breif illness complicated by Covid.  Fred was 91 years old and a U.S. Army veteran of the Korean War era.  He served in Germany. Fred held both Bachelors and Masters degrees in Civil Engineering and spent his career with the Port Authority of NY/NJ before his retirment. He is survived by his wife Ellen. Thank you Fred and RIP. You will be missed.




Combined Canteen and General Meeting


We changed our meeting times and structure starting with our February meeting.  We moved the meetings to the first Saturday of the month (February 5th) and held our breakfast/canteen at 9 AM followed by the General Meeting at 10 AM.  Chef Ken Smith prepared a breakfast that brought memories back to many of our members.  He served S.O.S. (chipped beef on biscuits) as well as sausages and bagels. We invited SAL members to attend as well.