By Maddy Vitale
Somers Point values the veterans who have given so much to serve the country.
That is why City Council recently adopted an ordinance creating a veterans advisory board. The board will include seven Somers Point veterans who will oversee veterans activities and concerns. The positions are for three-year terms.
“We have so many veterans organizations in town and so much history in Somers Point,” Mayor Jack Glasser, an Air Force veteran, said recently as he walked around Patriot Park.
“This is solemn ground,” he continued as he looked at monuments for fallen military personnel.
Glasser spoke about the importance of the veterans advisory board, which he said is the first in Somers Point that he could recall.
He noted that above anything else he has done as mayor, this is something he is most proud of.
“We have so much history in Somers Point. We have so many veterans. We want to honor veterans and remember those who are no longer with us,” he said. “The veterans advisory board will help fill a void since we don’t have one. Next to our children, veterans are the most important people in the community.”
Commanders of the VFW, American Legion and AMVETS will be ex-officio members to assist the board. The ad-hoc committee will meet quarterly with the purpose of coordinating veterans activities, issues and parades. While it is strictly advisory, recommendations will be made to City Council.
Veterans advisory board members are as follows: Tom Innocenti, Skip Mell, George Freas, Bob Kickish, Fred Fontana, Lee Gilbert and Don Parker.
Glasser stressed that the city already works well with the veterans organizations and two City Council liaisons are veterans, Councilman James Toto and Howard Dill. The newly formed advisory board will just be another way to tie it all together.
“The advisory board ensures that we can effectively oversee and help the veterans,” Glasser said.
“The veterans organizations do so much. They are so active throughout the year with Veterans Day, Memorial Day, Pearl Harbor Day, POW-MIA Day and other holidays,” Glasser pointed out.
The meetings are public, and people can come and discuss some of their ideas and concerns. The ultimate goal is more communication between the veterans organizations.
“The whole concept of the advisory board is to be a conduit between the veterans and the city,” Glasser added.
The first meeting is tentatively scheduled for 7 p.m. on Aug. 19 at City Hall.
For more information, visit www.somerspointgov.org.