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Photo by Fritz Rethage ·
Posted January 26, 2005
VFW Post 4591
Celebrates 50th Anniversary
Post 4591] [Honor Roll]
In 1954, James
Falbo, Joseph Midlar, Joseph Lagatutta and Edward Neikirk were approached by Phil D'Amico
and John and Muriel Stark of the Garfield VFW Post to start a VFW in Hasbrouck Heights.
many Veterans: The first meeting was held in Joseph and Helen Lagatutta's home with
subsequent meetings being held at the Reformed Church. As the membership increased, they
met at the Municipal Building and the Pioneer Club.
The Veterans of
Foreign Wars Post 4591 was chartered January 8, 1955 with 163 men as charter members -- of
which nine are still living.
Auxiliary was also chartered on January 8, 1955 with 51 women charter members -- of which
three are still living.
VFW Post 4591 was the largest Post installed in New Jersey.
charter installation was held at the Corpus Christi Annex Building.
Four years later
plans were started to build their own Post Building and in September 1961 the Post was
Kathy Dunn sang
at the building dedication.
Joe was the first
commander and his wife, Helen, was the first president of the Ladies Auxiliary.
Helen was an Army
nurse who served in the European Theater in World War II for two 1/2 years with the 250th
Land for the Post
was donated by the borough and the Post bought 4 lots for parking through personal loans
which were paid for by 10 members.
artillery piece located in the front of the Post was acquired in 1963-1964 from the
government. It is a 75 mm carriage gun M2A3 (SN/1471) that was made in 1941 by Parish
Pressed Steel Company.
Additions to the
building were made in about 1966 to include an office and storage. In 1983 a walk-in
refrigerator was built. The coat room was added in 1976.
The stucco with
gravel finish on the front was done in 1990 and the sides and back were done in 1992.
Post membership helps make vets aware of their entitlements. Any qualified veteran
interested in joining should contact the Post for more information at 201-288-1112.
There are about
446 current members. Hackensack and Maywood closed their post and gave up their charter
with some members transferring to the Post. Wood-Ridge and Carlstadt closed their Post but
maintain their charter.
There are 44 VFW
Posts in Bergen County and about 350 in New Jersey. There are about 55,000 members of the
VFW in the state.
represents all services. VFW membership is available to all U.S. service members who have
earned an overseas campaign, are currently on active-duty, and who have been honorably
discharged from the U.S. armed forces. In addition, the service member must be a U.S.
Note: A 1995 VFW
Congressional Charter amendment makes eligible all those who have served 30 consecutive
days or 60 non-consecutive days on the Korean peninsula or in its territorial waters from
June 30, 1949, until the present.
Post 4591 members
have seen combat in WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Bosnia, Gulf War, Somalia, Beirut, Grenada,
Panama, Cuban Blockade, Cold War to 1955, and Iraq.
During the Post
history, just about every medal has been presented to the various VFW Post members -- and
with oak leaf clusters representing multiple presentations. A partial list includes: The
Silver Star, Bronze Star, Service Commendations, Campaign and occupation ribbons, Prisoner
of War, Good Conduct, NJ Distinguished Service Medal, Purple Heart, etc.
The Purple Heart
is awarded in the Name of the President to any member of the Armed Forces who, while
serving was killed or wounded and required treatment by a medical officer.
the Memorial Day Parade and Service*.
the Colors for the Fireworks Program.
Bicycle Safety program during Town Day.
Veteran's Day Service*.
the Chamber Holiday Parade and then host the "after the parade" party at the
participated in the Flag raising ceremony following the 9-11-01 tragedy.
also participated in the Support the Troops Rally in Lodi in 2002.
years with the American Legion
Vietnam War Memorial Dedication in October 29, 2002 honoring Robert P. Gandil, Thomas J.
Halden and Michael J. Macarell who were killed in the conflict.
Post 4591 was
instrumental in organizing the Veterans' Memorial Walkway in Memorial Park on June 14,
2003 in which a veteran's name is engraved in a brick and placed around the Memorial
The Post assists
veterans with VA benefits, death benefits, obtaining medals, records, etc. They assist
active duty servicemen with phone calling cards, donations, etc.
VFW Post 4591
members can be seen around town selling Poppies on Memorial Day weekend at ShopRite and
IHOP. Veterans present their poppies at the Memorial Stone during the Memorial Day Service
in honor of past veterans who have served our country.
Post 4591 also
supports the Veteran's Home in Paramus, VA East Orange Hospital, Lyons Hospital, and
actively works with homeless vets in the area.
Auxiliary helps with financial support to Ladies Auxiliary members.
Along with other
NJ VFWs, the Post also supports the New Jersey cottage in the VFW Children's Home in Eaton
Rapids, Michigan -- 36 cottages, Home for Children -- for needy children of veterans and
those on active duty.
Years ago the
Post had a MOC group -- The Military Order of the Cootie which is the Honor Degree of the
slogan of "KeepEm Smilin in Beds of White," refers to bringing cheer
to the hospitalized veterans, whether in VA Medical Centers, community hospitals or
nursing homes. Often the Cooties visit as a Clown or other costumed character, designed to
put a smile on the faces of our veterans.
In the 1950's,
the Post Cooties visited Hasbrouck Heights Hospital and entertained disabled children. The
Post Cooties have since disbanded.
co-sponsors and chaperons class trips of Heights students to such places as the Intrepid
The Post sponsors
the Voice of Democracy Essay Contest for the High School and the Youth Essay Contest for
the Jr. High School.
The Post provides
speakers for the schools in Hasbrouck Heights.
The Post sponsors
teams for the Little League, Babe Ruth and Midget football teams.
Post 4591 donated
a bullet proof vest to the Hasbrouck Heights Police Department.
The Post has
donated to the Hasbrouck Heights Fire Department gel blankets for burn victims and towards
the thermal imaging camera.
For about 34
years the Post has donated their facility and helped with the food for the MDA Labor Day
organizations that use this facility are the DVA (Disabled Veterans of America Chapter
15) and the VVA (Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 800).
Other groups that
use the facility include unions, church groups, Hasbrouck Heights Chamber of Commerce,
holds 250 people and is available for rental and catering for events.
Post Fund Raisers
The Post hosts an
Atlantic City trip on the last Wednesday of the month with profits helping defray the
The Post also
holds smoke-free bingo every Thursday night from 7:30 to about 10 p.m. with all profits
from this event going to support charitable activities.
Bingo was started
in 1956 before the building was started and was held at Zimmerman's Hall in Carlstadt.
75-80 attend, but over 10 years ago, the attendance was from 100-150.
The Veterans of
Foreign Wars of the United States traces its roots back to 1899 when veterans of the
Spanish-American War (1898) and the Philippine Insurrection (1899-1902) founded local
organizations to secure rights and benefits for their service.
Many arrived home
wounded or sick. There was no medical care or veterans pension for them, and they
were left to care for themselves.
In their misery,
some of these veterans banded together and formed organizations with what would become
known as the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States.
were formed in Ohio, Colorado and Pennsylvania, the movement quickly gained momentum.
membership grew to 5,000; by 1936, membership was almost 200,000.
membership includes veterans from all wars and active-duty service members who have been
involved in expeditionary campaigns.
membership roll call has included notable veterans like Alvin York, Audie Murphy, Carl
Sandburg and John Glenn and eight U.S. Presidents including Theodore Roosevelt, Harry S.
Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard M. Nixon, Gerald
R. Ford and George Bush.
John F. Kennedy equated VFW with
Americas freedom and security. Whether on the battlefield or in the classroom, VFW
members are there, ever-ready to help those in need. ######