By Sara Martino
Gloucester City News
Councilman Greg Gilbert presented a proclamation to U.S. Army PFC Mark Ward during the September Brooklawn Borough Council meeting.
Ward was commended for his service to his country and received military honor ribbons as a result of his tour of duty in Afghanistan.
Ward thanked Council for his welcome home, and thanked his father, the Brooklawn American Legion Post 72, and Police Captain Steven Saymon for their support.
Mayor Theresa Branella had intended to present the proclamation, but was delayed while on a trip.
All the Council members praised the special 9/11 Brooklawn Memorial-Monument ceremonies on the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks.
“Getting the monument done in such short of time was an accomplishment. I am proud that I was part of it,” Councilwoman Julie McCleary said.
“I would like to thank the volunteers. It is incredible that it was pulled off in time. The Memorial will provide a great exposure for Brooklawn,” Gilbert said.
“Amazing and proud. Top notch work,” Councilman Mike Mevoli said.
Councilman Ryan Giles thanked everyone, adding that, “It was a good thing for the town.”
Thanks were given to Captain Saymon and the American Legion for their part in the event.
“Two months ago we broke ground and in 48 days the project was completed. I would like to commend Mayor and Council, Borough workers, and all the volunteers for all their hard work,” Saymon said.
Captain Saymon, one of the first responders to the New York twin towers disaster, was responsible for the idea and for the bringing the artifacts of all three disasters to Brooklawn.
A plaque that was given to American Legion Commander Jim Witte for his participation in the memorial was saved intact from a fire that happened at his house.
“While I was working at Bingo, I received an unbelievable call that my house was on fire. I immediately went home to see my home completely on fire. Firemen went into the house to make sure that no one was in there and to look for my pets,” he said.
“They came out with my Memorial Plaque undamaged, except it was covered with soot,” Witte said.
Unfortunately, his home was burned to the ground.